The Spectator is very proud to be the purveyor of a long-distance birthday message to Prince Philip, who turned 90 yesterday, from some of his most devoted admirers: the tribe that actually worship
him as a god. The cult of Philip began in the 50s when islanders on Tanna in the South Pacific noticed how devoted colonial officials were to the Queen. If she’s so great, then her husband must be
awesome they (understandably) concluded.
Four years ago, six Philip worshippers from Tanna — Chief Yappa, JJ, Joel, Albi and Posen — were brought over here to make make a TV documentary. For various reasons they stayed with me
for a while and they were some of the most charming and joyous people I’ve ever met. The highlight of their trip was a visit to Buck Pal where they met the D of E face to face. No-one knows what
was said — how do you chit chat with a god? — but it reflects very well on Prince Philip that Yappa left even more convinced by his religion than ever.
So of course they’ve been celebrating on Tanna, and they’ve sent a message to their god via email:
"We wish Prince Philip a Happy Birthday and long living. We have held a tamafa (a communication with the spirits involving plenty of mild narcotics) in honour of him today"
So many happy returns Prince Philip — from the one place on earth where you decidedly out-rank your wife.
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