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Tribe who adored Prince Philip may now worship Charles instead, expert says
April 10, 2021
A pacific community who worshipped the late Prince Philip may now elevate his son Prince Charles to a similar status, according to experts.
The villagers live on the tiny Pacific island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago, and believe that the Duke of Edinburgh was a direct descendant of their spiritual ancestors.
The belief goes that one day he would return to the village, bringing prosperity with him.
This system of belief is known as a "cargo cult", and involves an isolated community appealing to a more technologically advanced society to bestow those advancements on them.
The Prince Philip Movement is one of a handful of such movements that are still active.
Anthropologist Kirk Huffman has studied the Prince Philip Movement on Tanna, and believes attention may now be turned to Charles.
He told the Telegraph: “A connection was made between Tanna and Charles,” he said, “I suspect the beliefs of the islanders will continue with Prince Charles.”
On the passing of Philip, he added: “I imagine there will be some ritual wailing, some special dances. There will be a focus on the men drinking kava – it is the key to opening the door to the intangible world.
“On Tanna it is not drunk as a means of getting drunk. It connects the material world with the non-material world.”
The movement is thought to have started in the 1950s and 60s, but grew further after Philip visited Vanuatu with the Queen, the country of which Tanna is a part, in 1974.
Former Buckingham Palace spokesperson Dickie Arbiter once said: “One of the oarsmen taking them ashore was a chap from Tanna called Chief Jack.
“He thought Philip was a warrior from a long time ago who had come down from the mountains and gone off to England in search of a bride.”
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Worship of Charles already has precedent in the community, with one villager pledging to build a shrine around a coconut that Charles drank from during a royal visit in 2018.
Philip did maintain a relationship with the movement’s followers, receiving a group of them during a visit to the UK in 2007 during which they exchanged gifts.
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However, it is still too early to know for sure how the news of the Duke’s passing will be received by the community due to the lack of telecommunications with the island.