Gertrude Beckett: Jose Rizal's Fling in London

Copyright 2013 by Jensen DG. Mañebog

SHE HELPED JOSE RIZAL mix his colors for painting and prepared the clay for his sculpturing, hoping that a colorful romantic relationship would be formed between them.

Gertrude was the daughter of Rizal’s landlord—Charles Beckett who is an organist at St. Paul’s Church in London. Coming from brief stay in Japan and the United States of America, Rizal chose to live in the capital city of the United Kingdom on May, 1888.

The oldest of the ‘three’ (some say ‘four’) Beckett sisters, Gertrude (also called ‘Gettie’ or ‘Tottie’) was a curvy lady with cheerful blue eyes, brown hair, rosy cheeks, and thin lips. (Based on the pictures of Rizal’s ‘girlfriends’ now available over the internet, one can even argue that Gertrude is the most beautiful.)

Refer these to your siblings/children/younger friends:

This English girl (who probably spoke the British accent of the ‘Harry Potter’ characters) fell in love with Rizal. The more-than-normal assistance she gave to the Filipino boarder betrayed her special feelings for him. She showered him with all her attention and assisted him in his painting and sculpturing. With her aid, Rizal finished some sculptural works like the ‘Prometheus Bound’, ‘The Triumph of Death over Life,’ and ‘The Triumph of Science over Death.’

Away from his home, it was just normal for Rizal to find enjoyment in Gertrude’s loving service. Rizal called her by her nickname “Gettie” and she affectionately called him “Pettie.” It was said that their friendship glided towards romance, but Rizal, for some reasons, was alleged to have ultimately backed out. Some sources nonetheless suggest that their relationship was just a one-sided love affair as Rizal never really reciprocated her love.

Either way, it was clear that the couple did not end up as husband and wife as Rizal chose to leave London on March 19, 1889 so that Gertrude may forget him. As Rizals compatriots like Marcelo del Pilar put it, Rizal left London because he was running away from a girl. Before leaving though, he finished his composite carving of the heads of the Beckett sistersand gave it to Gettie as a souvenir.(© 2013 by Jensen DG. Mañebog)
The author's e-book on Jose Rizal's love life


Jensen DG. Mañebog, the contributor, is a book author and professorial lecturer in the graduate school of a state university in Metro Manila. His unique e-books on Rizal (available online) comprehensively tackles, among others, the respective life of Rizal’s parents, siblings, co-heroes, and girlfriends. (e-mail:
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