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The Strange Prince Phillip Movement

The Strange Prince Phillip Movement

When you think of the “Royal Family” of England, who comes to mind? Queen Elizabeth, her son-Prince Charles, his sons-Prince William and Harry, or their deceased mother-Diana? But the one “royal” you may not immediately recognize is Queen Elizabeth’s husband and consort – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Photos that have been taken of the royals have usually included every member, even Prince Phillip who sits or stands next to the Queen. He’s the one the press almost never mentions in the tabloids – the royal “black sheep.” But don’t tell that to the inhabitants of the tiny Yaohnanen village of the island of Tanna, located in the South Pacific. For them, Prince Phillip is literally a god. This strange cult is called the “Prince Phillip Movement.”

In 1974, Queen Elizabeth and Phillip visited Tanna. Members of the Yaohnanen saw the royal couple from a distance. At that point, they remembered a prophecy that probably developed in the 1950’s or 1960’s. According to legend, the Yaohnanen inhabitants believe Prince Phillip is descended from one of their spirit ancestors who traveled around the world to marry a queen. However, Phillip himself was unaware of this tribe and their strange beliefs until later; the British Resident Commissioner told him that this tribe worshipped him as a god and explained why. As high as he was in status among British society, even Phillip was likely extremely surprised, even amused by this odd news. The Commissioner suggested to Prince Philip that he send them a portrait of himself. He agreed and sent a signed official photograph. The villagers responded by sending him a traditional pig-killing club called a nalnal. In compliance with their request, the Prince sent a photograph of himself posing with the club. Another photograph was sent in 2000.

Although this primitive tribe doesn’t have electricity or running water, they take great care of these items and built a shrine to the “great” Phillip. They even own a book about Phillip’s life and revere it as if it were a Bible. Their shrine is also decorated with a Union Jack flag.

According to the Yaohnanen people, Phillip’s return to the island is imminent. Some are convinced the cyclone that ravaged the Pacific nation in March was nature’s dramatic curtain-raiser to his arrival in 2016. As far as anyone knows, Phillip is not planning to visit his “disciples” anytime soon. The villagers understand that “God” is over 90 years old and might not endure the journey. For the time being, their shrine enables them to be as close to Phillip as they can be.