February 7, 2012

Prince Charles leads tributes on Charles Dickens' 200th birthday (4 PICS)

Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at Westminster Abbey for a service to mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens

Prince Charles led the glowing tributes to Charles Dickens as Britain marked the English novelist's 200th birthday with a series of commemorative events across the country.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Duchess of Cornwall and many of the writer's descendants joined Prince Charles for a service at Westminster Abbey, with the heir to the throne describing the Oliver Twist creator as 'one of the greatest writers of the English language'.

Actor Ralph Fiennes, who is set to star in an adaptation of Great Expectations, read an extract from classic novel Bleak House before the congregation laid a wreath at Poets' Corner where Dickens was buried in 1870.

Dickens' bicentenary celebrations continued at Dickens' birthplace in Portsmouth where a message from Prince Charles was read to those in attendance.

'Despite the many years that have passed, Charles Dickens remains one of the greatest writers of the English language, who used his creative genius to campaign passionately for social justice,' he said.

The Royal Mail stamp marking the
200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth
'It is fitting that in Portsmouth the emphasis of the celebrations is on Dickens' youth, and I am delighted to learn of your plans to use the bicentenary as a focus to encourage literacy, creative writing and performance in schools across the city.'

Google joined in the celebrations with a montage featuring some of Dickens' most well-known characters, including Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Pip from Great Expectations.

Tributes have also poured in for the Victorian writer on Twitter where he has been trending throughout the day as one of the UK's most talked about topics.

One user, Scott Simon, said: 'Charles Dickens would have been 200 today-and still coming up with vivid, quirky characters, compelling stories & great names'

Other events included a Dickens webchat hosted by actor Simon Callow and a gala dinner at the capital's Mansion House.

There will also be a series of literature events and festivals over the course of 2012, while the Royal Mail have commemorated his birthday by releasing  a set of stamps featuring some of Dickens' most famous characters.

Ian Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, speaks to a crowd gathered outside Charles Dickens' birthplace

Dickens Fellowship member Tony Bower (L) stands with Ian Dickens (2-L), great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens

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