Clive Woodward's men triumphed with second-half tries from Will Greenwood and replacement Joe Worsley, while outside-half Jonny Wilkinson kicked 16 points.
But Wales could at least claim to have restored some pride after the humiliating defeat against Italy the week before, even if they still lost to England for the fourth time in succession.
Coach Steve Hansen had predicted a much-improved and more passionate display and his much-changed side produced that, particularly in the opening half against the subdued 6 Nations favourites.
The Welsh were left to ask what might have been had they gone into the interval leading, which they would have if centre Mark Taylor opted to pass instead of trying to score himself after a sizzling 45-metre break.
England ended the half with 14 men after Phil Christophers was sin-binned for tackling Gareth Thomas while he did not have the ball just seconds after coming on as a replacement for injured full-back Jason Robinson.
Woodward's marauders were grateful to go in with a 9-6 lead courtesy of the boot of Wilkinson, who kicked a penalty and landed two drop goals, with Welsh outside-half Ceri Sweeney marking his first start with two penalties.
But England took control while still a man down as centre Greenwood burst through a gap to score his 22nd try for his country just six minutes after the interval.
Wilkinson converted and added another 10 minutes later after replacement Worsley - on for flanker Neil Back - grabbed his second try for England from close range.
Wilkinson and Sweeney traded penalties as England completed a comfortable if unconvincing victory with the Rugby World Cup in Australia in mind later this year.