Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is set to pay a visit to the island nation of Vanuatu next month. Though this may seem like just another royal visit, there is one twist – the villagers of this island worship the Princess’s father, Prince Philip, as a god.
Vanuatu is an island in the South Pacific, to the west of Fiji. The nation was under the joint rule of the United Kingdom and France until 1980, when it attained independence. However, it continues to remain a part of the Commonwealth, and is occasionally visited by members of the Royal Family.
However, there is one royal whose visits are more anticipated than those of others. In a remote village on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, the people believe that the Duke of Edinburgh is a god, descended from ancient spirits. The belief originates from an age-old tale about the son of a mountain spirit, one with pale skin, venturing to another nation to marry a rich and powerful woman. When Prince Philip visited the island with The Queen in 1974, the locals began to associate the legend with him – after all, he was married to a powerful woman!
The islanders’ most prized possessions are three official portraits of the Duke of Edinburgh, signed by the Duke himself. The pictures were sent to Vanuatu from London with the permission of Prince Philip, who is well aware of his status in that country. In return, the locals sent him a club used for killing pigs, and the Prince responded by sending them yet another picture, this time of him posing with the club.
Princess Anne will be in Vanuatu from the 25th to the 29th of October. While her visit will allow her to support military and charitable organisations in the region, the final itinerary has not been decided upon, but will be released by the Palace in due course. The Princess previously visited Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, when she accompanied her parents on the royal tour in 1974.