Sir Philip Sydney was born at Penshurst, Kent. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Sydney, Lord Deputy of Ireland. His uncle was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and his Godfather, whom he was named after, was King Philip of Spain. He attended Shrewsbury School and Christ Church, Oxford (1568-71). He travelled to places such as Paris, Frankfurt, Venice and Vienna. He was a courtier, a patron of the arts, an author and poet.
He died, at the age of 31 years, as a result of a wound from a skirmish with the Spanish at Zutphen. He was so admired that he was the first commoner to receive the tribute of being accorded a state funeral at St Paul's Cathedral. To this day he remains the personifcation of virtue, chivalry and nobility.
His younger brother Robert, another poet, inherited the family home at Penshurst Place, Kent.