Prince Philip, Duke of Edinbugh, turns 90 Friday and will celebrate by working right through his special day.
But, the people of the Yaohnanen tribe on the island of Tanna far, far away will be throwing quite a party, as they do each year on the Prince’s special day. But, why? Did he do something special for these people on this remote island in the South Pacific?
It turns out that Prince Philip and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, seem to mesh perfectly into the island’s legend of a white man born from the spirit of the local volcano, Yasur. According to legend, the white man, aka Prince Philip, went away and married a powerful queen, a.k.a. Queen Elizabeth.
When the two unknowing royals visited the remote island in 1974, the villagers knew immediately that Prince Philip was their man. Or, actually, their god.
“He is originally from Tanna. He was born here and he is a spirit being,” Chief Siko of the tribe told Sky News. “He is a god and when we talk about him and believe in him, it gives us life. We are sure that one day he will come back, and when he does we will organize a [traditional] Toka dance for him.”
A gift of the tribe’s traditional club and two signed photographs of the Duke of Edinburgh, one of him holding the club and another more recent pose, have been exchanged during the thirty years since the meeting, but Prince Philip has not made a return trip to the island.
The islanders seem to have great hope that they will see the Prince again, however. Maybe on his 91st birthday?
But according to FOX, the chief had a simple message for the prince on his 90th birthday, “I say to him that all the villages here are preparing to meet him in 2012.”