As millions tune in to watch Britain’s King Charles get crowned at the Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday, a remote tribe in the South pacific nation of Vanuatu, some 500 km from New Zealand, has been also preparing for the coronation.
As per reports, the villagers from Iaohnanen and Yakel on Vanuatu’s Tanna island will perform ceremonial dances, sip the traditional drink kava and slaughter pigs to honour the new king who they believe is the son of their god — the late Prince Philip.
For decades, these two villages have worshipped the erstwhile Duke of Edinburgh as a god-like figure – a powerful mountain spirit – who they say was born in Tanna but left the island to travel the world and marry the most powerful woman in the world, Queen Elizabeth II.
When the Prince and Queen Elizabeth first visited the island in 1974, this belief was further strengthened and the tribe has since held a deep reverence for the royal family. His death in 2021 was marked by several days of mourning where the tribe displayed photos of the royal sent to the village as a gift by the Prince over many decades.
On Saturday, the villagers received a portrait of King Charles from Britain’s Acting High Commissioner Michael Watters, news agency AFP reported.
“Prince Philip’s family is Tanna’s family,” the tribe’s chief had told the Guardian in 2021, adding that they considered Prince Charles as “one of their own.”
Over 5,000 members of the tribe are expected to celebrate the coronation, as per reports. “This person is really meaningful to the people of Tanna … you will see a lot of people believing and celebrating the crowning of the prince. There are a lot of activities … there will be … women and men dancing together, so it’s going to be big. It’s another thing that will bring back the history of England and Tanna and keep remembering the friendship on this island,” the ABC reported.