The island where Prince Philip is worshipped

Ten thousand miles from Windsor Castle, the people of Ikunala planned to hold a special ceremony this week to remember Prince Philip, who died last week at the age of 99.

You see, in this part of the South Pacific, the Prince was considered to be…more than just a prince.

Here in this village on Tanna Island in Vanuatu, the indigenous population revered Prince Philip as something of a demigod, stemming from a local legend about the pale-skinned son of a local mountain god who ventured across the seas to look for a rich and powerful woman to marry.

IKUNALA VILLAGE CHIEF YAPA: "The connection between the people on the Island of Tanna and the English people is very strong. We are sending condolence messages to the royal family and the people of England." In 2007, Yapa and four other men from the village traveled to England to participate in a three-part British television documentary. They visited Windsor Castle and met Philip and took photos with him which they now cherish.

Anthropologists believe the late husband of Queen Elizabeth became linked to the legend in the 1960s when Vanuatu was an Anglo-French colony.

The villagers' special interest in Philip manifested itself in daily prayers for his blessing of their banana and yam crops and the posting of photos in village homes. One such photo was from 1980 and showed the prince, dressed in a suit, holding a club used to kill pigs that had been made by the islanders and sent to London.

While Philip had a reputation for being gruff and outspoken with a propensity for the occasional gaffe, it's said he maintained a respectful 50-year relationship with the group.

Back in England, the royal family will gather for his ceremonial funeral at Windsor Castle on Saturday where he will be remembered as a prince and husband to the Queen - one who served his country in his role longer than any other in British history.