Prince Charles took shelter under an umbrella as he went on a walkabout at Kew Gardens in Richmond on Wednesday (May 17).

Despite the downpours he visited the the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ahead of the launch of the annual State of the World's Plant report on Thursday (May 18).

The document, produced annually, acts as a tool for policy makers, scientists and the public to reference the plant world accurately and focus efforts to adapt to a changing global climate.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales uses a microscope to view slides showing different wood densities at Royal Botanic Gardens

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The Royal visit was not complete without a look at the Great Broad Walk Borders, launched last year, believed to be the world's longest double herbaceous borders.

A keen horticulturist and patron of Kew, Charles walked the 320 metre long borders, stopping to look at some of the plants and flowers along the way.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales tours the Great Broad Walk during a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens

Richard Barley, director of horticulture at Kew, said: "From what he said he really enjoyed seeing it.

"He is a lover of plants and gardens and he genuinely enjoyed having a walk down the borders and discussing plants within them and why we chose particular things and what we're seeking to achieve.

"He finished up saying he must come back and get some ideas for his own borders at some point. That's always the great thing about any garden, they're a source of ideas."

During his visit he also spoke to staff as well as expert contributors and met with children from Broomfield House School in Richmond.

Prince Charles meets pupils from Broomfield House school

James Wearn, a botanical scientist at Kew who co-ordinated the report, discussed a new rattan palm, used in basket weaving, that had been discovered in northern Borneo.

Speaking about the importance of the report, he said: "Reaching out to as diverse an audience as possible from the general public through to governments and policy makers is extremely important for bringing plants up the agenda.

"Plants have always been seen as the Cinderellas of the natural world but actually plants are essential global, from the shirt I wear that's made of cotton all the way through to the breakfast people had this morning made from cereal or toast."

To complete his visit, Prince Charles went for a private viewing of Kew's iconic palm house, built in 1844, to provide a home for tropical plants.

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