Two hundred years after the writer was born, a service of thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey, attended by Prince of Wales, the Archbishop of Canterbury and luminaries from the worlds of writing and theatre.
The author, known for masterpieces including A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist, was praised for his outstanding contribution to literature.
The Prince of Wales said: '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.
'The word Dickensian instantly conjures up a vivid picture of Victorian life with all its contrasts and intrigue, and his characterisation is as fresh today as it was on the day it was written.'
Meanwhile the Very Rev Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, gave thanks for Dickens's life as he welcomed the congregation.
Dr Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, said: 'It is difficult to tell the truth about human beings. Every novelist knows this in a special way, and when Dickens sets out to tell the truth about human beings, he does it outrageously by exaggeration, by caricature.'
Tourists renting London apartments can visit the Charles Dickens Museum, enjoy a 200-year anniversary exhibition at the Museum of London, and see the streets and spots which inspired his creations.
As guests gathered in London, an event was held simultaneously at Dickens's birthplace in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Delivering a message to them, Prince Charles said: 'My wife and I would like to send our special greetings from Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey to the Lord Mayor and all the assembled guests at St Mary's Church in Portsmouth as we simultaneously celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of your most famous son, who was born 200 years ago at Mile End Terrace and later baptised in St Mary's Church'.
The Prince of Wales laid a wreath of white roses and snowdrops on Dickens's grave before two of the writer's descendants, great-great-great-grandson Bob Dickens and great-great-great-great-granddaughter Rachel Dickens Green, made their own tribute on behalf of the family by laying two posies.
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