Prince Charles to visit Oceanic nation where Prince Philip is considered a god

By: Meaghan Wray

Prince Philip is a royal to the rest of the world, but in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu – where Prince Charles will stop during his upcoming royal tour of Australia – the Queen’s husband is a god. The people of a specific tribe in Tanna, one of the islands that make up ocean nation, hold the Duke of Edinburgh in the highest esteem. His son will surely hear more about this when he pays a visit to the country to learn how its people recovered from Cyclone Pam in 2015.

A man from Tanna holds up two photos of Prince Philip

Tanna is one of the most remote parts of the entire world. According to the Telegraph, the islanders believe the Duke is related to their spirit ancestors, and some even regard the cyclone as nature’s way of celebrating Philip's visit. Many shrines dedicated to him can be found on the islands, as well as framed portraits decorated with the Union Jack flag. New Zealand-born aid worker Andrew Finlay spoke to the publication, saying, “I was talking to an old man, an elder, who told me… the cyclone had been a precursor, alerting everyone to get ready for the great event.”

Prince Philip and the Queen first visited Vanuatu in 1974

Prince Charles is going on a South Pacific tour beginning April 4 to launch the Commonwealth Games on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. He has a few high-profile meetings planned, including with the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s family, who will show the prince around a Great Barrier Reef to teach him about the plight of the world’s coral reefs.

The Oceanic nation is set to host the Games, during which Prince Charles – joined by his wife Camilla – will read a message from the Queen herself at the opening ceremony. The message is said to inspire athletes to join forces in the spirit of friendly competition. The 69-year-old British royal will tour the village where athletes will stay during the games as well as meet with Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s Prime Minister, and present medals to the winning swimmers.

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