South Pacific tribe preparing for return of ’god’ Prince Philip

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On a remote island in the Pacific, a group of villagers are counting down the days until they welcome their “god” the Duke of Edinburgh back to his rightful home.

The people of Yaohnanen on the island of Tanna believe a man descended from one of their spirit ancestors will return next month to live among them. While he was away he lived in a vast palace, but when he comes home he will sleep in a hut and hunt wild pigs with his tribe.

The villagers’ belief seems to centre on a trip that the Queen and Prince Philip made in 1974 to Vanuatu aboard Britannia. Tannese legend has it that during a reception at the consulate in the capital Port Vila, the Duke shook only the hands of men from Tanna. This news reached the residents of Yaohnanen, who were waiting for a gift in return for a pig they had given to a British officer some years before. The tribe sent a letter to Port Vila, asking where their gift was and inquiring about the Duke. In response the British delivered a framed portrait of the Duke, and the worship began. The villagers sent the Duke a “nal nal” hunting club, which he duly posed with in London, sending a photograph back. He even sent the tribe a letter of condolence when their chief died last year.

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