History of Medicine

Roderigo Lopez, Physician-in-Chief to Queen Elizabeth I of England

George M. Weisz and Donatella Lippi

Abstract

Roderigo Lopez, former Physician-in-Chief to Queen Elizabeth I of England, was a controversial figure in his time and continues to be the subject of controversy. Much has been written about his religious practice, politics, and guilt, or lack thereof, with regard to charges of treason to the Crown. However, the fact remains that Lopez was the only physician to the Crown to be sentenced to death. All evidence points to an anti-Semitic mindset that played in the background. Yet Lopez so endeared himself to the Queen that although he was indeed sentenced to death, almost all of his property was restored to his family. This brief paper pays tribute to the Jewish physician, Roderigo Lopez, whose story was indeed a triumph over prejudice, despite his fate.