Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has for decades been looked up as a god by a group of villages on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, formerly an Anglo-French colony known as the New Hebrides. They are likely to turn their attention to Prince Charles, an anthropologist said.

“I imagine there will be some ritual wailing, some special dances. There will be a focus on the men drinking kava (ceremonial drink made from the roots of the kava plant)– it is the key to opening the door to the intangible world. On Tanna it is not drunk as a means of getting drunk. It connects the material world with the non-material world,” said anthropologist Kirk Huffman about how the tribe will respond to Prince Philip's recent death, reported the Telegraph.

Prince Charles visited Vanuatu in 2018 on a trip to the Pacific. He was appointed an honorary chief. “He told me he would build a shrine to it, almost as if it was a holy grail. So a connection was made between Tanna and Charles. I suspect the beliefs of the islanders will continue with Prince Charles," Huffman.

The worship of Prince Philip as a god started decades ago, but his cult-like status seems to have grown when he paid a visit to the New Hebrides, as it was then known, in 1974. His special status continued after Vanuatu was granted independence by Britain and France in 1980.

As for the formal mourning, tribespeople are expected to gather on Monday in a ceremony to remember Prince Philip, reported BBC. "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," said tribal leader Chief Yapa.

For the next few weeks, villagers will meet to conduct rites for the Duke, who is seen as a "recycled descendant of a very powerful spirit or god that lives on one of their mountains," said Huffman.

Prince Philip died aged 99.

A statement from Buckingham Palace said, “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Prince Philip Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, arrive for the funeral service of Patricia Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, at St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge on June 27, 2017, in London, England. WPA Pool/Getty Images