Villagers on a remote island in the South Pacific are counting the days until they welcome their god back to his rightful home, their god being Prince Philip.
Children are taught that Philip is a god who lives in England and will one day return.
A group of people on the island of Tanna called the Yaohnanen believe that a man who descended from their spirit ancestors will next month return to the island to live with them. They claim that while he was away he lived in a vast palace, but when he returns he will sleep in a hut and hunt pigs with his tribe.
None other than the Duke of Edinburgh is the man that this tribe is waiting for. The Yaohnanen claim that Philip promised them more than 30 years ago that he would return on June 10, his birthday, to Tanna.
The villagers’ belief centres on a trip that The Queen and Prince Philip made in 1974 Vanuatu aboard Britannia. According to Tannese legend, during a reception in the country’s capital, Port Villa, the Duke shook hands with the Tannese men. The news reached the Yaohnanen residents, who were waiting for a gift in return for a pig they gave the British years before. The tribe then sent a letter asking where their gift was and in response the British delivered a framed portrait of the Duke, then the worshipping began.
More recently, the villages have sent the Duke a hunting club which he posed with in London, and sent a photo back to show them. Prince Philip even sent a letter of condolence when the tribe’s leader died. Newspaper clipping that the tribe has collected as well as his portraits are kept in a hut which is a shrine to Philip. Children there are taught about a god who lives in England who will one day return.
photo credit: Royal Navy Media Archive via photopin cc