Bedford, John of Lancaster, duke of

Bedford, John of Lancaster, duke of, 1389–1435, English nobleman; third son of Henry IV of England and brother of Henry V. At the death (1422) of his brother and succession of his 9-month-old nephew, Henry VI, Bedford was designated as regent of France and protector of England. While he was in France his duties in England were to be performed by his younger brother Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. Bedford devoted himself to the affairs of France. In his attempt to make permanent the English occupation of France, he gave the country an able, if severe, administration, but his position was undermined by the waverings of his ally, Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, and by the victories of Joan of Arc, whose execution during his term of office has injured his reputation. He died shortly after the conclusion of a separate peace between Philip and King Charles VII of France, a major setback to the English. His death deprived England of the only man powerful and respected enough to keep balance between the court's hostile factions.

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