Britain's Prince Charles walks next to his wife Camilla
Britain's Prince Charles walks next to his wife Camilla are in Australia for a six-day visit. They will award the winners at the Melbourne Cup

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will lead the global celebrations marking the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens.

The royal couple will visit the Charles Dickens Museum on the morning of the bicentenary and see some of the world's finest Dickens-related collections in the only surviving London home of Dickens.

For the occasion, a special programme has been put together for the royals. This includes a private reading by Emmy-award winning actress Gillian Anderson. It was Anderson who played the role of Miss Havisham in the BBC's recent adaptation of Great Expectations based on the Dickens novel.

The visit by the Prince and the Duchess will be the first to the museum since 1957 marking the start of the museum's bicentenary redevelopment programme for 2012.

Besides this, Charles will also lay a wreath on the grave of Dickens where he was buried in the year 1870. It was on June.8, 1870 that Dickens suffered a stroke at his home. The following day he died at Gad's Hill Place, never having regained consciousness.

Contrary to Dickens' wish to be buried at the Rochester Cathedral, in a "private manner," he was buried in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey due to a public outcry. For his bicentenary, award-winning actor and director Ralph Fiennes, acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin and Mark Dickens, head of the Dickens family, will be readers at the special service in Poets' Corner in front of the media and the audience.

Apart from this, the British Council's 24 hour Global Dickens Read-a-thon will take place in 24 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe beginning in Australia with a reading from "Dombey and Son."