Edward Howard was the second son of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey and 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney.
Howard began a military career in August 1492 when he was just 15 as he served at the siege of Sluis under Sir Edward Poynings. This gave Howard the love of battle and in 1497 he followed his father and brother in battle against Scotland. The Earl of Surrey knighted both of his sons at Ayton Castle once a treaty had been signed with King James IV of Scotland also present at the siege of the castle was Pedro de Ayala the Spanish diplomat who served both Scotland and England on behalf of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.
I 1503 Howard was selected as one of the escorts for King Henry VII’s daughter Margaret as she travelled to Scotland to marry King James IV.
With the ascension of the new King Henry VIII Howard is appointed the King’s standard bearer in 1509 after performing well at the celebratory joust that was held to celebrate to coronation of Henry.
In April 1512 Edward Howard was appointed Admiral of a fleet of 18 ships. With war breaking out against France Howard was to defend the English shores between the Thames estuary and Brest in Brittany, France. Howard stopped many ships entering English waters under suspicion of carrying French supplies.
In June 1512 Howard was required to escort an army to Brittany that were under the command of the Marquess of Dorset. Howard took the opportunity to raid the towns of Le Conquet and Crozon on the Brittany coastline. Howard and his fleet dominated the English Channel and kept England safe. King Henry VIII showed his appreciation of Howard’s work by awarding him a 100 mark annuity.
On 10th March 1513 Howard was made Lord Admiral after the death of the Earl of Oxford. However, his post did not last long on 19th March Howard set out from London for Plymouth reaching his destination on 5th April. Howard did not wait for his supplies to be restocked and set off to find the French fleet. On 22nd April with one ship already lost to a hidden rock Howard’s fleet took a blow when the Prégent de Bidoux attacked the English ships with heavy gunfire, this sank another of Howard’s fleet.
On 25th April Howard decided to strike back and took smaller row boats out to lead an attack and attempt to board the ships. During the fighting Howard was thrown overboard and the weight of his armour meant that he drowned and died. His body and the Lord Admiral’s silver whistle were found three days later and delievered to Bidoux who sent his armour and whistle to Princess Claude and Queen Anne of France respectively.