Vanuatu’s Prince Philip worshippers say his spirit lives on

The chief of a remote Pacific village which worshipped Prince Philip with religious fervour said on April 12  it was too early to know whether the British royal's descendants will receive similar deification.

Yakel village on the Vanuatu island of Tanna for decades venerated Philip, who died at Windsor Castle last week at the age of 99.

Village chief Albi said it was unclear how the religious movement would change following Philip's death, as his spirit was believed to be adrift and seeking a new home.

While many outsiders assumed Philip's eldest son Charles or grandsons William and Harry would succeed him in having a special place in the villagers' hearts, Albi said nothing was certain.

"The spirit of Prince Philip has left his body, but it lives on - it is too soon to say where it will reside," he told AFP.

Beneath a British flag flying at half mast, Albi joined elders on April 12 at Yaohnanen, another village that worships Philip, for discussions on how to mark the momentous death.

Chiefs spoke in turn during painstaking discussions on what the death means for their customary belief system, with a resolution likely to be days away.

Albi had words of comfort for Queen Elizabeth II, wishing her joy because even though Philip's body was lost, his spirit lived on.

The Yakel chiefs said they were sending a confidential message to the royal family following Philip's passing.

The Prince Philip Movement is believed to have started in the late 1970s following a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh to Vanuatu earlier that decade.

British officials investigating the phenomenon concluded it stemmed from an age-old legend of a returning son who had pale skin.

Upon learning that Greek-born Philip was not...

Continue reading on: