Hon. Philip Howard was an English Roman Catholic cardinal. Born the third son of Henry Frederick Howard and his wife, Elizabeth Stuart, Howard was a member of the premier Catholic family in England. At the age of sixteen he joined the Dominican Order in Cremona, and was ordained in 1652. He founded the priory of Bornem in Flanders, with a college for English youths attached to it, and was himself the first prior and novice master. He also founded at Vilvoorde a convent of nuns of the Second Order of Saint Dominic, now at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight.
In the reign of Charles II, Father Howard was made grand almoner to Queen Catherine of Braganza and was one of the few who attended the royal wedding, according to the Catholic rite, celebrated privately in Winchester. He resided at St. James's Palace, with a salary of 500 pounds a year, and had a position of influence at Court.
Following an outbreak of anti-Catholic sentiment, he left England and resumed his position as prior at Bornhem. In 1672 he was nominated as Vicar Apostolic of England with a see in partibus, but the appointment, owing to the opposition of the "English Chapter" to his being a vicar Apostolic, and the insistence that he should be a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction, was not confirmed. He was made cardinal in 1675, by Pope Clement X, being assigned the title of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, exchanged later for the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. He now took up his residence at Rome, especially watching over the interests of the Catholic faith in England. He was to have been Bishop of Helenopolis. In 1679 he was made Protector of England and Scotland. At his insistence the Feast of St. Edward the Confessor was extended to the whole Church. He rebuilt the English College in Rome, and revised the rules of Douai College.
Most history is a record of the triumphs, disasters, and follies of top people. The black hole in it is the way of life of mute, inglorious men and women who make no nuisance of themselves in the world.