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Royal College of Physicians

Founded 23 September 1518

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The Royal College of Physicians - 500 years of history

Established in 1518 with the granting of a royal charter by one of history’s most famous monarchs – Henry VIII – the Royal College of Physicians of London is the oldest medical royal college in England and Wales, and amongst the most ancient professional medical organisations still operating anywhere in the world. Today it continues to play a pivotal role in raising standards and shaping public health.

Over the years the Royal College of Physicians has adapted and developed in ways that have mirrored broader changes in society and human knowledge. From the founding of the college in 1518 by Henry VIII, through the granting of permission to perform human dissections by Elizabeth I, to the publication of the first book of approved medicines and the invention of vaccinations, it is a gripping narrative...

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“A Fair Field and no Favour!”

Sophia Jex-Blake, 1872

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