Out in the Pacific Ocean lays a remote island, untouched by the complications of busy cities. While mostly cut off from the outside world, they are familiar with the Duke of Edinburgh.
To the Kastom people in the Yaohnanen village on the Tanna island in Vanuatu(previously an Anglo-French colony called the New Hebrides) in the South Pacific, Prince Philip is a God. The son of a mountain God to be exact, who travelled the seas to find a wealthy and powerful bride. The people of Tanna believe that Prince Philip will “heal their land”, however, they are in mourning after learning of his retirement according to India News.
Now that Prince Philip will not be travelling on his own, or on a tour with his wife, Queen Elizabeth, the opportunity for Prince Philip to “save” the island is a pipe dream.
The belief that the Duke of Edinburgh was the son of a God all started when government offices displayed portraits of The Queen and him in the 1960s. Prince Philip visited the island in 1971, and then with Queen Elizabeth in 1974, which only furthered their belief.
John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner, informed the Duke about the cult, now dubbed ‘The Prince Philip Movement’, and suggested he send the island a signed photograph. The Kastom people were delighted and sent him a nal-nal (a traditional pig-killing club) as a thank-you.
Since his first signed photo, Prince Philip has sent a total of three official photographs.
In an article on The Express, by Matthew Baylis, author of Man Belong Mrs Queen: Adventures With The Philip Worshippers, he speaks about his time on the island learning about the tribe and what they believe.
Tribal chief Jack Malia (who died in 2009) told Baylis: “If he comes, the people will not be poor, there will be no sickness, no debt and the garden will be growing very well.”
Part of the explanation of why Prince Philip, is the island’s link to England. “Prince Philip is important because ancestors told us part of our custom is in England” continued Malia.
“They’ve been waiting 2,000 years for a sign from Jesus,” Malia would often tell Baylis . “But our Philip sends us photographs! And one day he will come.”