More than 9,000 miles off the coast of the United Kingdom is the island of Tanna, which is only 25 miles long and 12 miles wide.
Despite the remoteness of the Pacific nation, the villagers of the tiny island in southern Vanuatu built a truly unique and unlikely relationship with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The Queen today announced her “deep grief” as she confirmed that Prince Philip died peacefully at Windsor Castle just two months before his 100th birthday and just weeks after the couple reunited after a month of hospitalization.
The people of Yaohnanen village believe that the king descended from their spiritual ancestors and worships him like a god, has framed photos of Philip and prays to him one day “to return to heal the land”.
The Prince Philip Movement believes the Duke was the “fair skinned” son of a mountain god who traveled overseas to marry a powerful woman and would one day return to her tribe.
The sect is believed to have been founded in the 1950s or 1960s, but it was greatly strengthened when Prince Philip and the Queen visited Vanuatu for official purposes in 1974.
Imanourane chief Jack Malia announced that Prince Philip had advised villagers never to accept money from visitors but only share food, stating that the duke was held in high esteem “because ancestors told us a part our custom be in England “.
Six years later, in 1980, the followers arranged for a traditional pig killing club called Nal-Nal to be sent to Prince Philip in London, who returned a picture with the item and the picture was revered among the tribes and peoples as considered sacred.
It was reported that islanders believed that Philip’s decision to retire in 2017 triggered a tropical cyclone. The announcement that he was about to step down from royal duties reduced the chances of him coming back, which was reflected in the weather.
They said Prince Philip’s return to the island had brought about a change in happiness, as Malia explained at the time: “When he comes, people will not be poor, there will be no disease, no debt and the garden will grow.” very good.
“We still believe he’ll come, but if he doesn’t, the pictures I’m holding mean … nothing.”
Matthew Baylis, a writer and journalist who spent time with the tribe, shared The telegraph : “They told me that they see Philip living in the palace, surrounded by guards, and driving in a car with darkened windows, as evidence of his taboo status.
“You can see that his withdrawal from public duties is connected with it – after he has reached a higher level of taboo, sacred status.
“Likewise, you might think that he is preparing to return to Tanna in some form, mental or physical.”
More recently, Philip’s son, Prince Charles, visited Vanuatu in 2018, where he was named “High Chief” and sipped from a mug of “Special Kava” supposedly reserved for special occasions and last consumed by the Duke of Edinburgh Visited 44 years earlier.