Saturday, April 10, 2021 11:35 am
A tribe in the remote island nation of Vanuatu who saw Prince Philip as a god will greet his death with ritual wailing and ceremonial dancing, an expert said.
The group, based in villages on the island of Tanna in the former Anglo-French colony, revered the Duke of Edinburgh and believed him to be a reincarnation of an ancient warrior who left the island to fight a war.
The heavily spiritual group in Yaohnanen and surrounding villages felt the leader of the fighters would return to the islands with a rich white wife.
Kirk Huffman, an authority on what is known as the Prince Philip Movement, told the Daily Telegraph: “I imagine there will be some ritual wailing, some special dances.
“There will be a focus on the men drinking kava (an infusion made from the root of a pepper plant) – it is the key to opening the door to the intangible
“On Tanna it is not drunk as a means of getting drunk. It connects the material world with the non-material world.”
He added the islanders could continue their beliefs with Prince Charles, who most recently visited Vanuatu in 2018.
There, the Prince of Wales met Jimmy Joseph, from the village of Yaohnanen, during a tour of the country, formerly known as the New Hebridies.
The prince warmly shook Mr Joseph’s hand as he was presented with a gift.
Mr Joseph said: “I gave him a walking stick for his father made by the hands of the Prince Philip Movement.
“I told him a lot of people in the movement have now died but there are some still living.
“The prince said he would deliver the message personally.” (PA Media/dpa/NAN)