What People Believe: The Prince Philip Movement
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We’ve all gone a bit Royal Family mad recently. When we’re not watching who our Queen is waving at or checking Prince Philip is behaving himself, we’re studying what Kate’s wearing or gazing at Harry’s cheeky grin. We just can’t get enough. But it looks like us Brits are only in second place when it comes to a love of the Duke of Edinburgh. As part of TNS' 'What People Believe' series, we look at the beliefs of The Prince Philip Movement. Who? The Yaohnanan Tribe from the island of Tanna in Vanuatu (off the east coast of Australia) don't just love Prince Philip but worship him as a divine being. The religious sect is believed to have formed in the 1950s-60s as an offshoot of the John Frum movement in Vanuatu. In the very distant past a cloaked stranger promised that one day the volcano on the eastern coast of the island would erupt with gifts. During the Second World War these promises were remembered when cargo was dropped from planes for the American soldiers stationed there. ‘John Frum’ or ‘John From (America)’ became the name of the cloaked stranger from the past. The cult remains today and they await John Frum’s return with more gifts. What do the Prince Philip Movement believe? OK, so what does John Frum have to do with Prince Philip? According to ancient Yaohnanan legend, the pale skinned son of a mountain spirit and the brother of John Frum travelled across the seas to a distant land in order to marry a powerful lady. In time he would return, bringing the prosperity ‘pale skinned’ people enjoy with him. The Duke of Edinburgh seemed to fit the description, and their faith was strengthened when the tribe Chief Jack Naiva and a few other villagers were able to see him from afar as the Queen and Prince Philip visited the New Hebrides in 1974. Chief Jack was paddling one of the war canoes assigned to greet the Royal couple and told one interviewer later; 'I saw him standing on the deck in his white uniform and I knew then that he was the true Messiah... It is a memory I will always have of him…to see him in the flesh like that, even though I know that deep inside he is more than flesh and bones.'
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