There is a group of people living in the Yaohnanen village on the island of Tanna in the Republic of Vanuatu who believe that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is a god. This comes from a local tale about the son of a mountain spirit who left the island to marry a powerful woman and return some day bearing gifts. That messianic story was linked in 1974 to Prince Philip when he flew in for a visit, and the belief became the Prince Philip Movement, a so-called cargo cult religion. While he’s not a god, to these indigenous people the prince was more like an alien in a spaceship – which brings us to a recent revelation that Philip has had a lifelong interest in UFOs and has amassed an extensive library of books on UFOs and aliens.
“Why shouldn’t any sensible person have an interest in a phenomena that has baffled mankind for millennia?”
The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh’s private secretary, Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, made that comment to The Sun after revealing that Philip was thrilled to have recently received a copy of “The Halt Perspective,” a new book on the 1980 Rendlesham Forest incident, from the book’s co-author, John Hanson. It seems the prince has been researching ufology ever since his beloved uncle, Lord Louis Mountatten, relayed the story of a UFO encounter on the grounds of his Broadlands estate in Romsey, Hampshire, in 1955. While Mountbatten reported the incident, it was witnessed by his bricklayer, Fred Briggs.
"The object was shaped like a child's huge humming-top and half way between 20ft or 30ft in diameter. Its colour was like dull aluminium, rather like a kitchen saucepan. It was shaped like the sketch which I have endeavoured to make, and had portholes all around the middle, rather like a steamer has. While I was watching, a column, about the thickness of a man, descended from the centre of the saucer and I suddenly noticed on it, what appeared to be a man, presumably standing on a small platform on the end. He did not appear to be holding on to anything. He seemed to be dressed in a dark suit of overalls and was wearing a close fitting hat or helmet."
Briggs said the UFO disappeared as quickly as it appeared. When he told his boss, Mountbatten investigated the site himself and was convinced enough by Brigg’s sincerity to submit a report to the government, complete with drawings, that he asked to be kept secret until his death – which occurred in 1979 with his assassination. In an earlier interview, British UFO researcher Alejandro Rojas credits Mountbatten with helping develop the field of UFO investigations behind the scenes by encouraging the media at the time to investigate sightings. Philip was inspired to follow in his footsteps.
"Prince Philip also took an interest in ufology. He was very close to his uncle and always said he was more of a father to him. He definitely picked up the interest in UFOs - but we are not sure if Charles and the rest of the family did - although we can tell from their reading lists that they do request different paranormal books."
Would Prince Philip have preferred that the Yaohnanens think of him as the captain of an extraterrestrial starship rather than a gift-bearing god? Probably, as long as it didn’t involve too much work. Regardless, it’s interesting to see how open the British royals are about UFOs and aliens in comparison to leaders in the U.S. Perhaps it’s because the royals are ridiculed in so many other areas, any criticism they get about this is minor.
Or maybe it’s because they really do believe.