How the island tribe that worshipped Prince Philip as a God are mourning him

Prince Philip was worshipped as a God by a tribe in the South Pacific, here is how they are paying tribute following his death

Prince Philip tribe
(Image credit: DAN MCGARRY / Contributor / Getty Images)

A remote South Pacific island tribe that worshipped Prince Philip as a God will be remembering the Prince in a very unique way as they enter a mourning period in his memory.

• The Duke of Edinburgh was worshipped as a God by a tribe on a remote island in the South Pacific.

• The tribe have announced that they will pay tribute to the Prince in a very unique way.

• In other Royal news, 'United in grief' Prince Harry and Prince William to walk shoulder to shoulder at Prince Philip's funeral

Prince Philip was worshipped as a God by the Yaohnanen tribe on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu. The origins of his status as a God-like figure are unclear but the tribe allegedly believes that Prince Philip is the pale-skinned son of an ancient mountain spirit. The prophecy suggests that the ancient spirit would leave the land to marry a powerful woman only to one day return to the tribe.

When Prince Philip met the tribe in 1974 on a trip to Vanuatu with The Queen, the group believed him to be the embodiment of that prophecy. Following their visit, the group requested that he sent them an official photograph of himself. He obliged and as thanks, they sent him a pig-killing club, which he then photographed himself with and sent to the tribe. 

Tanna Tribe Prince Philip

(Image credit: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD / Staff / Getty Images)

Following the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, Chief Yapa said, "The connection between the people on the island of Tanna and the English people is very strong... We are sending condolence messages to the Royal Family and the people of England." 

A Vanuatu-based journalist, Dan McGarry, told the BBC that the tribe will now enter a mourning period. This period will most likely include ritualistic dances, a procession a shrine built out of memorabilia from Prince Philip. 

The final mourning period will culminate in a “significant gathering,” Dan revealed. "There will be a great deal of wealth on display," which will include produce such as yams and kava plants.

Dan also revealed that there will be a number of pigs that are slaughtered for the ceremonial mourning event. Dan said, “Also pigs, because they are a primary source of protein. I would expect numerous pigs to be killed for the ceremonial event."

Anthropologist, Kirk Huffman, who has studied these tribes for decades, suggested that following their mourning period, Prince Charles may be next in line to be worshipped by the tribe. The anthropologist revealed, “They might say, he has left it to Charles to continue his mission." It is unclear how the tribe will continue their worship but they have communicated their condolences with the Queen herself.