The Making of the Prince

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Prince Henry’s Copy-book, 1604-06 © Master and Fellows of Trinity College Cambridge

Prince Henry’s Copy-book
Photo: © Master and Fellows of Trinity College Cambridge


Prince Henry was brought up apart from his parents, first in Scotland and then in England. His early years in England were spent mainly at Nonsuch Palace in Surrey and then after his creation as Prince of Wales in 1610, at St James’s and Richmond Palaces. Here he was attended by a combination of Scots courtiers – men such as David Murray, a gentleman of the bedchamber to whom he was especially close – and Englishmen newly appointed by his father. Various sons of the nobility were chosen to be his companions, including Sir John Harington of Exton and Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex.

Henry and his companions were educated under the guidance of the prince’s tutor, Adam Newton. Newton initially devised a curriculum based on that of grammar schools of the day. This included reading and writing in Latin, as well as French, some Italian and italic handwriting. Henry seems to have shown more enthusiasm for his studies as they became more specific to his future role as king, and included history, geography and especially military exercises. His formal education was supplemented by descriptive letters from friends and courtiers travelling abroad, and political information supplied by Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, the most powerful politician in James’s government.