On Mary's accession, the children's grandfather, the Duke of Norfolk, was released from prison, and he straightway dismissed Foxe. Henry was admitted to the household of John White, bishop of Lincoln, an ardent catholic, and when White was translated to Winchester in 1556, Henry went with him. While with White, Howard read largely in philosophy, civil law, divinity, and history, and seems to have acquired a strong sympathy with Roman Catholicism. On Mary's death and Elizabeth's accession, White was deprived of his bishopric, and Elizabeth undertook the charge of Howard's education. He was restored in blood 8 May 1559. At the queen's expense he proceeded to King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated M. A. in 1564. He afterwards joined Trinity Hall, obtained a good reputation as a scholar, read Latin lectures on rhetoric and civil law in public, and applied to a friend in London for a master to teach him the lute (Lansd. MS. 109, f.51). He protested in 1568 to Burghley that his religious views were needlessly suspected of heterodoxy, and wrote for his youngest sister, Catharine, wife of Lord Berkeley, a treatise on natural and moral philosophy, which has not been published; the manuscript (in Bodl. Libr. Arch. D. 113) is dated from Trinity Hall 6 Aug. 1569. On 19 April 1568 he was incorporated M.A. at Oxford, and it was rumoured that he contemplated taking holy orders in the vague hope of succeeding Young in the archbishopric of York (Camden, Annals, an. 1571). Want of money, and a consciousness that he was living ‘beneath the compass of his birth,’ brought him to court about 1570, but the intrigues of which his brother, Thomas Howard, fourth duke of Norfolk, was suspected at the time, depressed his prospects (cf. his Latin letter to Burghley, 22 Sept. 1571, in Cott. MS. Cal. C. iii. f. 94). When in 1572 Norfolk was charged with conspiring to marry Mary Queen of Scots, Banister, Norfolk's confidential agent, declared in his confession that Howard was himself first proposed 'for that object' (Murdin, p. 134). He was thereupon arrested, but, after repeated examinations, established his innocence to Elizabeth's satisfaction, was readmitted to court, and was granted a yearly pension. It was generally reported, however, that he had by his evil counsel brought about his brother's ruin (Birch, Memoirs, i. 227).
After the duke's execution Howard retired to Audley End, and directed the education of his brother's children. He visited Cambridge in July 1573, suffered from ill-health in the latter part of the year, tried by frequent letters to Burghley and to Hatton to keep himself in favour with the queen's ministers, and managed to offer satisfactory explanations when it was reported in 1574 that he was exchanging tokens with Mary Queen of Scots. But Elizabeth's suspicions were not permanently removed. His relations with Mary were undoubtedly close and mysterious. He supplied her for many years with political information, but, according to his own account, gave her the prudent advice to 'abate the sails of her royal pride' (cf. Cotton MS. Titus, c. vi. f. 138). Howard sought to regain Elizabeth's favour by grossly flattering her in long petitions. About 1580 he circulated a manuscript tract in support of the scheme for the marriage of Elizabeth with the Duke of Anjou, in answer to Stubbes's 'Discoverie of a Gaping Gulf,' 1579 (Harl. MS. 180), and at Burghley's request began a reply to a pamphlet denouncing female government, which he completed in 1589 (ib. 7021, and in Bodl. Libr. MS.) In 1582 his cousin Edward De Vere, seventeenth earl of Oxford, quarrelled with him, and revived the charges of heresy and of treasonable correspondence with the Scottish queen. He was again arrested, and defended himself at length in a letter to Elizabeth, in which he admitted that he had taken part in Roman catholic worship owing to conscientious difficulties ‘in sacramentary points,’ but declared that it was idle to believe that ‘so mean a man’ as he could win Mary Stuart's ‘liking.’ He was soon set free, and, retiring to St. Albans, spent a year (1582-3) in writing his ‘Preservative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies,’ a learned attack on judicial astrology, dedicated to Walsingham, and said to have been suggested by the astrological exploits of Richard Harvey [q. v.] The book, which was revised and reissued in 1621, was suspected of ‘seeming heresies,’ and of treason, ‘though somewhat closely covered’ (Strype, Grindal, p. 157), and in 1583 Howard was sent to the Fleet. For many months, as he piteously wrote to Hatton, he ‘endured much harsh usage’ (Nicolas, Hatton, pp. 368-9, 376-7). Mary, it was now asserted, had sent him a ring with a message that she ‘did repute him as his brother’ (cf. his examination, &c., on 11 Dec. 1583 and January 1583-4 in Cott MS. Cal. C. vii. ff. 260, 269). Burghley declined to intervene in his behalf, but by the favour of Burghley's son Robert he was sent on parole to the house of Sir Nicholas Bacon at Redgrave. On 19 July 1585 he wrote thence to Burghley, begging permission to visit the wells at Warwick for the benefit of his health. He was soon set at liberty, and is said to have travelled in Italy, visiting Florence and Rome (Lloyd, Worthies, i. 67). In 1587 his repeated requests to take