Philip II (Spanish: Felipe II; 21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598) was King of Spain from 1556 and of Portugal from 1581 (as Philip I, Filipe I). From 1554 he was King of Naples and Sicily as well as Duke of Milan. During his marriage to Queen Mary I (1554–58), he was also King of England and Ireland. From 1555, he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. Known in Spanish as "Philip the Prudent" (Felipe el Prudente), his empire included territories on every continent then known to Europeans, including his namesake Philippine Islands. During his reign, Spain reached the height of its influence and power. The expression "The empire on which the sun never sets" was coined during Philip's time to reflect the extent of his possessions.
During Philip's reign there were separate state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1575, and 1596. This was partly the cause for the declaration of independence which created the Dutch Republic in 1581. A devout Catholic, Philip is also known for organizing a huge naval expedition against Protestant England in 1588, known usually as the Spanish Armada, which was unsuccessful, partly due to storms and grave logistical problems.
Philip was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive." The Ambassador went on to say "He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious."[