Philip II, King of Spain, was born at Valladolid on the 21st of May 1527. He was the son of the emperor Charles V and of his wife Isabella of Portugal. Philip received his education in Spain. His tutor, Juan Martinez Pedernales (Bishop of Cartagena), who latinized his name to Siliceo, and who was also his confessor, does not appear to have done his duty very thoroughly. The prince, though he had a good command of Latin, never equaled his father as a linguist. Don Juan de Zúñiga (grand-commander of Castile),
who provided a more systematic education, imparting piety and seriousness to his pupil as well as an extensive knowledge of history and an appreciation of scholarship, the arts, and politics. From his earliest years Philip showed himself more addicted to the desk than the saddle and to the pen than to the sword. The emperor, who spent his life moving from one part of his wide dominions to another and in the camps of his armies, watched his heir’s education from afar. The trend of his letters was to impress on the boy a profound sense of the high destinies to which he was born, the necessity for keeping his nobles apart from all share in the conduct of the internal government of his kingdom, and the wisdom of distrusting counsellors, who would be sure to wish to influence him for their own ends. Philip grew up grave, self-possessed and distrustful and was rigidly abstemious in eating and drinking.