(2nd E. Pembroke)

Born: AFT 1538

Acceded: 1570

Died: 19 Jan 1601, Wilton

Buried: 5 Mar 1601, Salisbury Cathedral

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: William HERBERT (1 E. Pembroke)

Mother: Anne PARR (C. Pembroke)

Married 1: Catherine GREY (C. Hertford) 21 May 1553, London - ANNULMENT 1554

Married 2: Catherine TALBOT (C. Pembroke) 17 Feb 1562/3, Baynard Castle, London

Married 3: Mary SIDNEY (C. Pembroke) 21 Apr 1577


1. William HERBERT (3 E. Pembroke)

2. Catherine HERBERT (b. 1581 - d. 1584)

3. Anne HERBERT (b. 1583 - d. ABT 1606)

4. Phillip HERBERT (4 E. Pembroke/ 1 E. Montgomery)

He was the son of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Anne Parr. His aunt was queen consort Catherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII. His uncle was William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, who was an influential man during the reign of Edward VI and Elizabeth IHerbert was responsible for the costly restoration of Cardiff Castle. Pembroke, like other members of his family, was a man of culture. He was a special patron of antiquaries and heralds and collected heraldic manuscripts. Herbert was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, under Archbishop John Whitgift. He is also said to have studied at Douay.

He was married to Catherine Grey, sister of Lady Jane Grey, on 21 May 1553, in a political match arranged by their parents in the hopes of assisting the Duke of Northumberland with his plan to secure the succession of Lady Jane who also married along side her sister on that day, the Duke's younger son, Guildford Dudley. The union was never consummated, and in 1554, Queen Mary's influence led to the consent of Herbert's father's dissolution of the marriage.

In 1554, while Pembroke was entertaining the entourage of Felipe II of Spain's men at Wilton House, Herbert's discreet manners caught the attention of the Marquis de las Navas and he was made a gentleman of the chamber to King Felipe upon his arrival in England. In 1557, he took part of a tournament held before Queen Mary, and accompanied his father to the siege of St. Quentin.

William Herbert died in 1569 and Henry succeeded as second Earl of Pemroke and on 4 Apr 1570 was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire. In right of his mother, Anne Parr, he succeeded as Lord Parr and Ros of Kendal, Lord FitzHugh, Lord Marmion, and Lord Quentin on 1 Aug 1571. In the court intrigues of Elizabeth's reign, Pembroke, was regarded as a partisan of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and was certainly in very intimate relations with him. He took a prominent part in the trials of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of NorfolkMary, Queen of Scots in Oct 1586; and Norfolk's son Phillip Howard, Earl of Arundel in 1589.

His second wife was Catherine Talbot, daughter of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife Gertrude Manners, daughter of Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland. Queen Elizabeth was extremely fond of Lady Catherine and when she developed a fatal illness the Queen often visited her at Baynard's Castle. She died in 1575.

By Apr 1577, Herbert married his third wife, the former Mary Sidney, daughter of Sir Henry Sidney. His children included William and Phillip, who both were Earl of Pembroke after their father; and Anne Herbert who died young.

In 1586, he succeeded his father-in-law, Sir Henry Sidney, as Lord President of Wales and became at about the same time Admiral of South Wales. From thenceforth he spent much time at Ludlow Castle, the official residence of the president of Wales where he actively discharged the duties of his office.

During the 1590s he was patron of Pembroke's Men, a theatre company who were the first group to perform a number of plays including Henry VI, part 1 by William Shakespeare and The Isle of Dogs by Thomas Nashe and Ben Jonson.

In 1595, Pembroke was described as 'very pursife and maladise' and by Sep 1599, 'his life was despaired of'. Herbert died at Wilton House leaving his lady 'as bare as he could and bestowing all on the young lord even to her jewels'. He was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.


Haynes, Alan. Sex in Elizabethan England. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited, 1997.

Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee, editors, Dictionary of National Biography: Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Vol 26, Smith, Elder, & co., 1891. pg 189-90

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