The death of Prince Philip is certain to be met with great grief and much “ritual wailing” by villagers on a tiny island in the South Pacific — where they worship him like a god.
Some 700 villagers on the island of Tanna ascribe to the so-called Prince Philip Movement, believing he was the son of a mountain deity who would one day return to “heal the land.”
Philip made quite an impression on tribe members in the tropical rainforest village of Yaohnanenon during visits there over the decades, even after the island’s archipelago gained independence from the UK in 1980.
“They were hoping he would return in person,” anthropologist Kirk Huffman said of Philip in February.
“But they will imagine his spirit might come back to the island.”
News of Philip’s passing will hit them hard, Huffman said.
“They will be in grief-stricken mourning,” he said. “There will be ritual wailing and also a series of dances that encapsulate parts of the island’s history.”
Now, the movement will continue with Philip’s first-born, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, who visited in April 2018, Huffman predicted.