Man stands in for Duke on island
Published 07/08/2010 | 11:53
A Scotsman had the privilege of standing in for the Duke of Edinburgh during a ceremony to mark the royal's "second coming".
Self-appointed emissary Marc Rayner happened to be on the South Pacific island of Tanna - whose people revere the Duke - at a time when they awaited the return of Philip.
Tanna's inhabitants believe the Duke is the human form of an ancestral spirit who emerged from a volcano and travelled overseas to marry a queen.
They expected him to return to his ancestral home on his 89th birthday in June.
Anthropologists believe the islanders have revered the Duke since he visited Tanna in 1974.
However, Philip never materialised. In his place was 18-year-old Mr Rayner from Edinburgh, who was on a gap year at the time.
Mr Rayner told the Daily Mail: "I stepped in to explain that the Prince's many responsibilities prevented him from visiting in person - but that he would one day rest in spirit on the island."
He donned traditional Tanna dress - with a gourd covering his modesty - to attend the ceremony.
Mr Rayner said: "I was embarrassed - but only for 10 minutes."
He added: "I hope Buckingham Palace don't think I was trying to be Prince Philip - and I certainly wasn't acting as a 'god'."