The English cause was indeed irretrievably lost. In spite of a pompous coronation of the boy-king Henry at Paris, Bedford, with the cool wisdom of his temper, seems to have abandoned all hope of permanently retaining France, and to have fallen back on his brother's original plan of securing Normandy. Henry's Court was established for a year at Rouen, a university founded at Caen, and whatever rapine and disorder might be permitted elsewhere, justice, good government, and security for trade were steadily maintained through the favoured provinces. At home Bedford was resolutely backed by the Bishop of Winchester, who had been raised in 1426 to the rank of Cardinal, and who now again governed England through the Royal Council in spite of the fruitless struggles of the Duke of Gloucester. Even when he had been excluded from the Council by Gloucester's intrigues, Beaufort's immense wealth was poured without stint into the exhausted Treasury till his loans to the Crown amounted to half-a-million; and he had unscrupulously diverted an army which he had raised at his own cost for the Hussite Crusade in Bohemia to the relief of Bedford after the deliverance of Orleans. The Cardinal's diplomatic ability was seen in the truces he wrung from Scotland, and in his personal efforts to prevent the reconciliation of Burgundy with France. In 1435 however the Duke of Burgundy concluded a formal treaty with Charles; and his desertion was followed by a yet more fatal blow to the English cause in the death of Bedford. Paris rose suddenly against its English garrison and declared for King Charles. Henry's dominion shrank at once to Normandy and the outlying fortresses of Picardy and Maine. But reduced as they were to a mere handful, and fronted by a whole nation in arms, the English soldiers struggled on with as desperate a bravery as in their days of triumph.
Lord Talbot, the most daring of their chiefs, forded the Somme with the waters up to his chin to relieve Crotoy, and threw his men across the Oise in the face of a French army to relieve Pontoise. The Duke of York, who succeeded Bedford as Regent, by his abilities stemmed for a time the tide of ill-fortune, but the jealousy shown to him by the King's counsellors told fatally on the course of the war. A fresh effort for peace was made by the Earl of Suffolk, who swayed the Council after age forced Beaufort to retire to Winchester, and who negotiated for his master a marriage with Margaret, the daughter of Duke René of Anjou. Not only Anjou, of which England possessed nothing, but Maine, the bulwark of Normandy, were ceded to Duke Rend as the price of a match which Suffolk regarded as the prelude to peace. But the terms of the treaty and the delays which still averted a final peace gave new strength to the war-party with Gloucester at its head. The danger was roughly met. Gloucester was arrested as he rode to Parliament on a charge of secret conspiracy; and a few days later he was found dead in his lodging.
But the difficulties he had raised foiled Suffolk in his negotiations; and though Charles extorted the surrender of Le Mans by a threat of war, the provisions of the treaty remained for the most part unfulfilled. The struggle, however, now became a hopeless one. In two months from the resumption of the war half Normandy was in the hands of Dunois;
Rouen rose against her feeble garrison and threw open her gates to Charles; and the defeat of an English force at Fourmigny was the signal for revolt throughout the rest of the province. The surrender of Cherbourg in 1450 left Henry not a foot of Norman ground, and the next year the last fragment of the Duchy of Guienne was lost. Gascony indeed once more turned to the English Crown on the landing of an English force under Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. But ere the twenty thousand men whose levy was voted by Parliament for his aid could cross the Channel Shrewsbury suddenly found himself face to face with the whole French army. His men were mown down by its guns, and the Earl himself left dead on the field. The surrender of fortress after fortress secured the final expulsion of the English from the soil of France. The Hundred Years' War had ended, not only in the loss of the temporary conquests made since the time of Edward the Third, with the exception of Calais, but in the loss of the great southern province which had remained in English hands ever since the marriage of its Duchess, Eleanor, to Henry the Second, and in the building up of France into a far greater power than it had ever been before.