The heir to the British throne will lay a wreath Tuesday on the writer's grave in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner, where actor Ralph Fiennes will give a reading.
More events are being held in Portsmouth, southern England, where Dickens was born on Feb. 7, 1812.
His novels, including "Oliver Twist" and "Great Expectations," are still read by millions and have spawned innumerable film and TV adaptations.
Dickens also was one of the first modern celebrity authors, and campaigned for social reform in Victorian England.
His biographer, Claire Tomalin, says today's headlines about social inequality, greedy bankers and corrupt politicians prove Dickens is still relevant.