World marks 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth
THE Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have led global celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth.
According to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report, Prince Charles laid a wreath at the author’s grave in Poets’ Corner as part of a service at Westminster Abbey. The Royal couple also visited the Charles Dickens Museum in London.
A service also took place in Portsmouth where Dickens was born, with readings by actor and biographer Simon Callow and actress Sheila Hancock.
Meanwhile, a 24-hour “readathon” is taking place in countries from Albania to Zimbabwe. The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and actress Gillian Anderson examined a first edition of one of Dickens’s novels.
At St Mary’s Church in Portsmouth, Callow read from David Copperfield, a coming-of-age story about an orphan boy that is largely considered to be Dickens’s most autobiographical work.
“I really made the strong decision to come to the place where he was born rather than to Westminster Cathedral where he never wanted to be,” actor Callow said, referring to Dickens’s desire to be buried at Rochester Cathedral, instead of Westminster Abbey, where he was interred following a public outcry.
Celebrations in Portsmouth began earlier in the day at a ceremony outside the writer’s birthplace, where his great-great-grandson, Ian Dickens, laid a wreath.
Ahead of the Westminster Abbey service, Prince Charles and Camilla visited the Charles Dickens museum in Doughty Street – which opened in 1925 in the house where the novelist lived from 1837-1839.
U.S. actress Gillian Anderson, who played Miss Havisham in the BBC’s adaptation of Great Expectations, gave a private reading for the royal visitors.