England seized their first Grand Slam since 2003 with a tense 31-21 victory over France in Paris to complete a triumphant debut campaign at the helm for Eddie Jones.
Tries from Danny Care, Dan Cole and Anthony Watson ensured there was no repeat of past failures at the final hurdle - most recently in Dublin five years ago - on a glorious night for a team that had fallen so far short of expectations at last autumn's World Cup.
England Women's bid for the 6 Nations grand slam fell short on Friday night as they were beaten 17-12 by France at Stade de la Rabine.
Like their male counterparts, the women had headed to France hoping to make it five wins out of five, but unlike the men they also needed victory in this final fixture to win the Six Nations title.
Instead the French took that honour as Gaelle Mignot's second try of the night 10 minutes from time gave them the win.
England had led 7-5 at half-time on the back of Lydia Thompson's try, in which she broke four tackles to reach the corner before Amber Reed kicked the conversion.
But France captain Mignot replied and the hosts took the lead when a maul drove Audrey Forlani over and Camile Cabalou converted.
Tamara Taylor replied for England and the scores were tied when Reed's conversion kick struck the upright.
But with 10 minutes left, the French drove forward from a line-out and Mignot finished the move with what proved to be the winning try.
The Welsh Rugby Union says it is surprised at the decision not to sanction England prop Joe Marler for the "racist language" he used towards Wales' Samson Lee last weekend.
Loosehead prop Marler was cleared to play in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations match against France by the tournament's disciplinary committee despite striking one Wales prop - Rob Evans - and calling Lee a "gypsy boy".
He has been left out of the starting XV to face Les Bleus in a match England need to win to secure the Grand Slam, but Jones insists his omission from the line-up had nothing to do with the Lee incident.
"We are surprised by the decision of the Six Nations disciplinary hearing," the WRU statement read.
"We stand by our belief that there is no place for the use of racist language in sport."
England have ended a run of four successive runners-up finishes by being crowned RBS 6 Nations champions in Eddie Jones' debut campaign as head coach.
A thrilling 25-21 victory over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, followed by Scotland's 29-18 home win against France on Sunday, guaranteed England a first title since 2011 with a round to spare.
England will complete their Six Nations in Paris next Saturday and victory would result in the Grand Slam - an achievement which for the Red Rose was last managed by Martin Johnson's World Cup winners of 2003.
England began healing the Twickenham wounds of last autumn's World Cup disaster by landing their first major blow in the RBS 6 Nations title race with an emphatic 21-10 victory over Ireland.
On their first home match since a record defeat by Australia sent them spinning out of the global showpiece they hosted, tries from Anthony Watson and Mike Brown helped inflict a second defeat of the tournament on the reigning champions.
Injury-hit Ireland provided the step-up in competition predicted by captain Dylan Hartley and after victories over Scotland and Italy this was the most satisfying result and performance of Eddie Jones' brief tenure.
France wing Djibril Camara will make his first start for Les Bleus when they take on Wales in the RBS 6 Nations on Friday.
Uncapped Stade Francais man Camara is one of five changes made by head coach Guy Noves for the clash, coming in for the injured Teddy Thomas.
Maxime Machenaud, Antoine Burban, Paul Jedrasiak and Rabah Slimani also feature in the starting XV.
Sebastien Bezy, Uini Atonio and Yoann Maestri all drop to the bench, while fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc is also named among the replacements on his return to the squad.
Saracens lock Maro Itoje looks set to make his first England start after Joe Launchbury was ruled out of the RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland.
Launchbury had pulled up in training with a sore hamstring but England had expected the Wasps lock to make Ireland's visit to Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.
But the 24-year-old was ruled out on Wednesday evening with Northampton Saints lock Courtney Lawes called up to replace him.
The Rugby Football Union said in a statement:
It was anticipated that Launchbury would take part in England's third game of the tournament but after further consultation with team medical staff it has been decided he is unfit to play.
The lock will now return back to his club (Wasps) for further treatment on a hamstring injury.
Johnny Sexton kicked a penalty six minutes from time to preserve injury-hit Ireland's unbeaten RBS 6 Nations home record under Joe Schmidt and stall Wales' stirring fightback.
A 16-16 draw - the first between Ireland and Wales since 1991 - meant that both sides' Grand Slam hopes floundered at the first hurdle, yet they played with such fearsome commitment and intensity to still suggest strong title ambitions.
England opened the Eddie Jones/Dylan Hartley era by emerging from a tricky RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield with a 15-9 victory founded on a dominant second-half performance.
Jones has had only two weeks to stamp his mark on England. On the evidence of today's match, his team has orders to attack from all areas of the pitch and take quick line-outs whenever viable.
However, after reaching the break 7-6 up, the team took a more conservative - or "pragmatic" in Jones' words - after the interval.
Though they were never able to stretch clear, a second try by Jack Nowell and an increasingly dominant set piece ensured they always had their noses in front.
We wanted to play some positive rugby, the attitude was to try to move the ball, but we were a bit off our game. It became a set-piece, defence game and we excelled in that and in the second half I thought we were commanding.
Team captain Dylan Hartley added: “We stuck at it and when it mattered we got some dividends."
France dodged a banana skin in scraping a win over Italy in Paris in the opening match of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.
The French needed a late penalty kick from the big boot of Jules Plisson to hand a less-than-convincing victory to new head coach Guy Noves.