Husband of Mary Tudor until 1558. As the most powerful Catholic ruler in Europe, Philip posed a potential threat to Elizabeth for much of her reign. Elizabeth turned down his proposal of marriage in 1558, and made it clear from 1559 onwards that England was to be a Protestant country.

Philip realised that Mary Queen of Scots could be useful to his Catholic cause. Over many years, he gave his support to the various plots that were made to overthrow Elizabeth and place Mary on the English throne.