Born a crypto-Jew in Portugal in 1525, Roderigo Lopez studied medicine in Spain before moving to London in 1559. A talented surgeon, Lopez soon rose to prominence at court, displaying a capacity for intrigue and espionage. In the service of spy networks, he became deeply entwined in English foreign policy. When the 1st Earl of Essex was poisoned ...Read MoreBorn a crypto-Jew in Portugal in 1525, Roderigo Lopez studied medicine in Spain before moving to London in 1559. A talented surgeon, Lopez soon rose to prominence at court, displaying a capacity for intrigue and espionage. In the service of spy networks, he became deeply entwined in English foreign policy. When the 1st Earl of Essex was poisoned to death, Lopez numbered amongs those suspected. But in 1586, undeterred by the scandal, he was appointed personal physician to the Queen. However, Lopez was financially over-extended and became so desperate he embarked on a high-risk enterprise as freelance diplomat and spymaster, contacting the Spanish in an attempt to se up peace talks. Suspicious of Lopez, the 2nd Earl of Essex began an investigation. The case against Lopez was damning with stories of botched abortions and murder, sa houses and mail drops, double agents and triple identities. Lacking vital corroboration of his story by the Spanish, and despite the Queen's support, amidst an atmosphere of anti-Semitism stirred up by Essex, Lopez was hung drawn and quartered in 1594. He protested his loyalty and Christianity to the last, and provided the young Shakespeare with inspirationRead Less
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