Prince Philip Movement
The Yaohnanen believe that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort to Queen Elizabeth II, is a divine being; the pale-skinned son of a mountain spirit and brother of John Frum. According to ancient tales, the son travelled over the seas to a distant land, married a powerful lady and would in time return. The villagers had observed the respect accorded to Queen Elizabeth II by colonial officials and concluded that her husband, Prince Philip, must be the son from their legends.
When the cult formed is unclear, but it is likely that it was sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. Its beliefs were strengthened by the royal couple's official visit to Vanuatu in 1974, when a few villagers had the opportunity to observe the Prince from afar. At the time, the Prince was not aware of the cult, but the matter was eventually brought to his attention by John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner in Vanuatu, between 1975 and 1978.
The Resident Commissioner suggested that the Prince send them a portrait of himself. A signed official photograph was duly dispatched. The villagers responded by sending a traditional pig-killing club called a nal-nal. As requested, the Prince in return sent them a photograph of himself posing with the weapon. Another photograph was sent in 2000. All three photographs were kept by Chief Jack Naiva, who died in 2009.
On 27 September 2007, British television station Channel 4 broadcast Meet the Natives, a reality show about five Tanna men from the Prince Philip Movement on a visit to Britain; their visit culminated in an off-screen audience with Philip, where gifts were exchanged, including a new photograph of the Prince.
In 2010 Australian journalist Amos Roberts visited Tanna and reported on the locals' celebration of Philip's 89th birthday, for SBS's magazine program Dateline.
- Shears, Richard (3 June 2006). "Is Prince Philip a god?". The Mail on Sunday (Yaohnanen Village, Vanuatu). Retrieved 2007-02-15.
- Squires, Nick (27 February 2007). "South Sea tribe prepares birthday feast for their favourite god, Prince Philip". Daily Telegraph.
- Shears, Richard (8 November 2009). "Heir to the tribe: South Pacific tribe who worship the Duke of Edinburgh want to meet Prince William". Mail Online. Retrieved 10 July 2010. "Sadly, the old chief of the tribe, Jack Naiva, has died in his mid-90s..."
- Hoggart, Paul (11 September 2007). "Meet the Natives". Broadcast.
- Roberts, Amos (8 August 2010). "Waiting for Philip". Broadcast.
- "An Idiot Abroad 2 Episode 1: Desert Island". Sky1 HD.
- Squires, Nick. Prince Philip, they hardly know ye, Christian Science Monitor, 8 June 2007, accessed 7 June 2007
- Squires, Nick. Is Prince Philip an island god?, BBC News, 10 June 2007, accessed 10 June 2007
- Adams, Guy. Strange island: Pacific tribesmen come to study Britain, The Independent, 20 November 2007
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