The BBC reported in June 2007 that Prince Philip (The Duke of Edinburgh) the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is regarded as a god by the Yaohnanen tribe who live on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu in the South Pacific. They believe that he is divine and son of a mountain spirit.

Exactly how he became to be regarded as a god is unclear, but ancient tales told of the story of the son traveling to a faraway land, married a lady of power and would later return. Back in the 1950s or 60s, the Yaohnanen saw that Queen Elizabeth II was treated with respect by British colonial officers. Somehow they concluded that her husband is none other than the son of their mountain spirit. Hence the birth of the cult.

As fate would have it, the Royal Couple visited Vanuatu in 1974 and villagers had the opportunity to see the prince for themselves.

Prince Philip initially did not know that he’s regarded as a god until John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner in Vanuatu between 1975 and 1978 told him. Perhaps mischievously, Champion suggested that Prince Philip give them a portrait. He discreetly did, but not before autographing it.

Thrilled at this, the villagers sent him a “nal-nal” club, a traditional weapon to kill pigs. In return Prince Philip took a picture of himself posing with the weapon, then sent the photo back to Vanuatu in 1980:

A third, and currently last photograph of himself was sent in 2000. All three photos are now carefully kept by Chief Jack Naiva.

Other living persons who are prominently regarded as gods or deities include Sathya Sai Baba. Jehovah Wanyonyi, Yahweh ben Yahweh and Mitsuo Matayoshi.

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