Philip Howard was the eldest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. He was baptised at Whitehall Palace with the Royal Family in attendance, and was named after his godfather, King Philip of Spain. At the age of fourteen, he was married to his stepsister, Anne Dacre. After years of estrangement, they were reunited and built a very strong marriage.
In 1569, on 1 October, Philip Howard's father, Thomas Howard, was arrested for his intrigues against Queen El;izabeth I. His father wasattainted and executed in 1572, which prevented Philip inheriting the Dukedom. However through his mother’s lineage he was made Earl of Arundel in 1580.
Most of the Howard family remained Catholics during the reign of Elizabeth I, when it was very dangerous to do so. Caught trying to leave England and due to his being second cousin to the Queen Philip was committed to the tower of London in April 1585. While charges of high Treason were never proved, he spent ten years in the Tower, until his death of dysentry. Philip Howard petitioned the Queen as he lay dying to allow him to see his wife and his son but the Queen responded that "If he will but once attend the Protestant Service, he shall not only see his wife and children, but be restored to his honors and estates with every mark of my royal favor." To this, Saint Philip replied, "Tell Her Majesty if my religion be the cause for which I suffer, sorry I am that I have but one life to lose.". He died alone in the Tower and was immediately acclaimed as a Catholic Martyr.His tomb is in Arundel Cathedral having been moved from St Peter ad Vincula (in the Tower) with permission of James I