cester violently protested against Orleans' release, and was answered by the council that it was the special desire of the king and the best way of securing peace. About 1441 Brittany, Orleans, and Alençon proposed a marriage between Henry VI and a daughter of John IV, count of Armagnac, who since 1437 had been on good terms with the English, through his fear of Charles VII (Beckington, Correspondence, ii. 206; Ord. P. C. v. 45). On 28 June 1441 ambassadors from Armagnac received their safe-conduct for England to propose the match (De Beaucourt, iii. 234, from Brequigny's collection; Fœdera, xi. 6, dates a safe-conduct 13 May 1442, which is plainly too late). On 28 May 1442 Sir Robert Roos and Beckington, the king's secretary, were empowered to proceed to Guienne to treat for the marriage with one of Armagnac's three daughters (Fœdera, xi. 7). Henry, who showed the keenest interest in the business, sent after them a letter ‘signed of our own hand, the which, as ye wot well, we be not much accustomed for to do in other case,’ and directing them to make choice of the most suitable of the ladies (Beckington, ii. 181). A painter named Hans was also sent out to ‘portray the three daughters in their kirtles simple and their visages’ (ib. ii. 184). But on arriving at Bordeaux the ambassadors found that Charles VII's invasion of Guienne had frightened Armagnac, and his mind was changed. They waited from July 1442 to January 1443, but could not even get the pictures of the ladies, because the severe frost had frozen the artist's colours, and went home empty-handed. The prospect of the Armagnac alliance was finally destroyed a year later by the dauphin Louis' invasion and conquest of Armagnac (Beckington, Journal, printed accurately in the Appendix to vol. ii. of the Beckington, Correspondence, and less accurately in Sir H. Nicolas's English version published in 1828, and partly translated into French by G. Brunet in the Actes de l'Académie Royale de Bordeaux, with valuable notes by the editor; other letters of Beckington are in Letters of Margaret of Anjou, Camd. Soc.; De Beaucourt, Hist. de Charles VII, vol. iii. chap. ix.; and Ribadieu, Hist. de la Conquête de Guyenne par les Anglais, are the best modern accounts).
On 6 Dec. 1442 Henry reached his legal majority. Beaufort's influence was undiminished, and he made a new effort to procure peace. Through the good offices of Francis, the new duke of Brittany, negotiations began about the end of 1443. In February 1444 a strong embassy, headed by William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, was sent to France. A partial truce was signed on 8 April at Le Mans, whence Suffolk went to Tours, where the king and the chief nobility of France were assembled. A definite peace was still out of the question, and Charles VII rejected all proposals to marry Henry to one of his daughters (Basin i. 154–6). Yet on 22 May 1443 the English concluded a treaty with Charles VII's brother-in-law, René of Anjou, titular king of Sicily and actual duke of Lorraine and count of Provence, for the marriage of Henry to René's daughter Margaret. On 24 May the solemn betrothal was celebrated before the papal legate (De Beaucourt, iii. 276–7; Lecoy de la Marche, Le Roi René, ii. 254–257; and Vallet de Viriville, Charles VII, ii. 453–4). On 28 May the treaty of Tours was signed, which secured a truce for nearly two years (Fœdera, xi. 59–67, gives a Latin text, and Cosneau, Les Grands Traités de la Guerre de Cent Ans, pp. 154–71, a more accurate French version from the Archives Nationales; M. D'Escouchy, vol. iii. Pièces Justificatives, Soc. de l'Hist. de France). This was the great triumph of the Beaufort policy, with which the young king had identified himself.
Suffolk, made a marquis in September 1444, was sent to Lorraine to fetch Margaret. King René held great feasts at Nancy, in the presence of the king and queen of France, to celebrate the marriage, which was performed by proxy by the bishop of Toul in February 1445 (De Beaucourt, iv. 93; Berry, Roy d'Armes, p. 426, in Godefroy, Charles VII). On 1 April Margaret landed at Porchester or Portsmouth (Gregory, p. 184), escorted by Suffolk, but an attack of small-pox postponed her wedding. At last Henry and Margaret were married by Bishop Ayscough at Titchfield Abbey, near Fareham, on 22 April (10 April Gregory, p. 186). Henry set in the wedding-ring a ruby given him by Beaufort the day he was crowned at Paris (Fœdera, xi. 76). On 28 May the royal pair entered London in triumph, and on 30 May Margaret was crowned by Archbishop Stafford. Magnificent tournaments concluded the wedding festivities (Wyrcester, p. 764). Lydgate celebrated the event by a bombastic poem.
Gloucester's influence was now at an end. Henry suspected his uncle of treasonable designs, and hardly admitted him to his presence or treated him with civility (Chron. Giles, p. 33; Whethamstede, i. 179; Stevenson, Wars of English in France, i. 111). Beaufort's great age thus threw the direction of affairs into the hands of Suffolk, who was warmly supported by king and queen alike. In July 1445 the Archbishop of Rheims and the Count of Vendôme arrived in London on a solemn embassy from France. On 15 July Henry