Prince Charles, Camilla, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Claire Tomalin, Ralph Fiennes and Time Out’s books editor Chris Moss took part in this morning’s bicentenary wreath-laying service for London’s greatest ever novelist, Charles Dickens. Fiennes, in finest Cockney, read a moving extract from ‘Bleak House’ while Tomalin took her reading from one of Dickens’s letters – the author recounts how he was greeted by the good folk of Birmingham with a banner announcing ‘Welcome Dick!’ before giving one of his memorable public readings. In his lyrical, learned and rather lovely address, the Most Revd Rowan Williams displayed genuine enthusiasm for – and astonishing familiarity with – Dickens’s writings, while meditating on the way the grotesques and caricatures in his novels are an attack on boredom and flatness. The Prince of Wales… laid a wreath. A cheery, colourful event on a chilly morning and a fitting tribute to ‘The inimitable’.
For info on Dickens’s bicentenary events, see www.dickens2012.org.