Philip Larkin has been honoured with a memorial in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner - joining literary giants Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens.

Inscribed with the last two lines of his poem An Arundel Tomb, the plaque was unveiled for the poet who died in 1985, and reads: "Our almost-instinct almost true. What will survive of us is love."

Perhaps best known for the line "They f*** you up, your mum and dad" in the poem This Be The Verse, Larkin turned down the chance to become Poet Laureate in 1984.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said it was "about time" and a "good thing" that he was being memorialised at the abbey, on what marked the 31st anniversary of his death.

"I think he is one of the great twentieth century poets," he told the Press Association, adding: "He does deserve his place in my view."

Dr Hall said he has seen a "charming" postcard Larkin wrote to his mother, which said that: "Poets' Corner seems a little crowded, but I think there will be space for me."

Addressing the congregation during the service, in front of the tomb of Chaucer, he said it was a "fitting time" to unveil the stone.

"Now Philip Larkin takes his place amongst the poets that have inspired us," he added.

Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone read Solar, The Trees and Water, while Hull-born actor Sir Tom Courtenay read Days and Reference Back - all works by Larkin.

Artist Grayson Perry read Larkin's A Letter To Monica October 23 1962, which was followed by an address from poet and author Blake Morrison.

He told the gathering, which included members of The Philip Larkin Society: "His right to be here is indisputable. Yes, it is the poems he would want to be remembered for.

"But the stone in here is a mark of their worth and of the esteem and affection in which their author is held."

Larkin's niece Rosemary Parry also laid flowers during the service, after the memorial was unveiled by Dr Anthony Thwaite, president of the Philip Larkin Society and Professor Edwin Dawes, chairman of the society.

On the subject of the controversial letters released after Larkin's death, which include the personal views of the university librarian, Dr Hall said before the ceremony the "casual misogynism and racism" within them is "not good taste".

"But you don't see that in his poetry - his poetry is very humane and very appealing to people," added Dr Hall.

"They reveal a side of him that looks as though he is quite harsh - you have to think of the period of time and context, but we are all complicated people, we all have a dark side."