Henry was born the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York on 28th June 1491 at Greenwich Palace, five miles south of London. He was christened in the Church of Observant Friars at Greenwich Palace but the font was brought from Canterbury Cathedral. The ceremony was conducted by Richard Foxe, Bishop of Exeter, Lord Privy Seal. On 31st October he was made a Knight of the Bath. In 1493 He became Constable of Dover Castle, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Earl Marshall of England. A year later he was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Henry VII chose to give these appointments to his son because he did not want his nobles to have too much power. Following the tradition started by Edward IV, Prince Henry, as the second son of the reigning monarch, was created Duke of York.
In 1495 at the age of four years Prince Henry began formal education. His private tutor was John Skelton the Poet Laureate. The young prince was taught to speak, read and write Latin and French and also had to master a basic knowledge of Italian and Spanish. He also had lessons in deportment and how to conduct himself on formal occasions. By the time he was eight years old he was studying classical works in both Greek and Latin. He learnt to write in a sprawling italic script and studied mathematics, French and music. He learned to play the favourite instrument of the Tudor period, the lute, as well as the harpsichord and the recorder. He was also able to read music. Sport featured heavily and he received daily coaching in horsemanship, archery, fencing, jousting, wrestling, swordmanship and tennis.
The young Henry performed his first public duty at the age of seven when he attended a meeting of the City of London Trade Guilds. He was presented with a pair of gilt goblets by the Lord Mayor. When he was ten years old he was chosen to escort Catherine of Aragon along the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral for her marriage to Prince Arthur.