Dauphin of France

Last updated

Coat of arms of the Dauphin of France. Coat of Arms of the Dauphin of France.svg
Coat of arms of the Dauphin of France.
Arms of the Dauphin of France, depicting the fleur-de-lis and the dolphin. Arms of the Dauphin of France.svg
Arms of the Dauphin of France, depicting the fleur-de-lis and the dolphin.

Dauphin of France ( /ˈdɔːfɪn/ , also UK: /dɔːˈfɪn,ˈdfæ̃/ US: /ˈdfɪn,dˈfæ̃/ ; French : Dauphin de France [dofɛ̃ də fʁɑ̃s] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )), originally Dauphin of Viennois (Dauphin de Viennois), was the title given to the heir apparent to the throne of France from 1350 to 1791, and from 1824 to 1830. [1] The word dauphin is French for dolphin. At first, the heirs were granted the County of Viennois (Dauphiné) to rule, but eventually only the title was granted.



Guigues IV, Count of Vienne, had a dolphin on his coat of arms and was nicknamed le Dauphin. The title of Dauphin de Viennois descended in his family until 1349, when Humbert II sold his seigneury, called the Dauphiné, to King Philippe VI on condition that the heir of France assume the title of le Dauphin. The wife of the Dauphin was known as la Dauphine.

The first French prince called le Dauphin was Charles the Wise, later ascending to the throne as Charles V of France. The title was roughly equivalent to the English (thence British) Prince of Wales , the Scottish Duke of Rothesay , the Portuguese Prince of Brazil , and the Spanish Prince of Asturias . The official style of a Dauphin of France, prior to 1461, was par la grâce de Dieu, dauphin de Viennois, comte de Valentinois et de Diois ("By the Grace of God, Dauphin of Viennois, Count of Valentinois and of Diois"). A Dauphin of France united the coat of arms of the Dauphiné, which featured dolphins, with the French fleurs-de-lis, and might, where appropriate, further unite that with other arms (e.g. Francis, son of Francis I, was ruling Duke of Brittany, so united the arms of that province with the typical arms of a Dauphin; Francis II, while Dauphin, was also King of Scots by marriage to Mary I, and added the arms of the Kingdom of Scotland to those of the Dauphin).

Originally the Dauphin was personally responsible for the rule of the Dauphiné, which was legally part of the Holy Roman Empire, and which the Emperors, in giving the rule of the province to the French heirs, had stipulated must never be united with France. Because of this, the Dauphiné suffered from anarchy in the 14th and 15th centuries, since the Dauphins were frequently minors or concerned with other matters.

During his period as Dauphin, Louis, son of Charles VII, defied his father by remaining in the province longer than the king permitted and by engaging in personal politics more beneficial to the Dauphiné than to France. For example, he married Charlotte of Savoy against his father's wishes. Savoy was a traditional ally of the Dauphiné, and Louis wished to reaffirm that alliance to stamp out rebels and robbers in the province. Louis was driven out of the Dauphiné by Charles VII's soldiers in 1456, leaving the region to fall back into disorder. After his succession as Louis XI of France in 1461, Louis united the Dauphiné with France, bringing it under royal control.

The title was automatically conferred upon the next heir apparent to the throne in the direct line upon birth, accession of the parent to the throne or death of the previous Dauphin, unlike the British title Prince of Wales, which has always been in the gift of the monarch (traditionally conferred upon the heir's 21st birthday).

The sons of the King of France held the style and rank of fils de France (son of France), while male-line grandsons were given the style and rank of petits-enfants de France (Grandson of France). The sons and grandsons of the Dauphin ranked higher than their cousins, being treated as the king's children and grandchildren respectively. The sons of the Dauphin, though grandsons of the king, were ranked as Sons of France, and the grandsons of the Dauphin ranked as Grandsons of France; other great-grandsons of the king ranked merely as princes of the blood.

The title was abolished by the Constitution of 1791, which made France a constitutional monarchy. Under the constitution the heir-apparent to the throne (Dauphin Louis-Charles at that time) was restyled Prince Royal (a Prince of the Blood retitled prince français), taking effect from the inception of the Legislative Assembly on 1 October 1791. The title was restored in potentia under the Bourbon Restoration of Louis XVIII, but there would not be another Dauphin until after his death. With the accession of his brother Charles X, Charles' son and heir Louis-Antoine, Duke of Angoulême automatically became Dauphin.

With the removal of the Bourbons the title fell into disuse, the heirs of Louis-Philippe being titled Prince Royal. After the death of Henri, comte de Chambord, Carlos, Duke of Madrid, the heir of the legitimist claimant, Juan, Count of Montizón, made use of the title in pretense, as have the Spanish legitimist claimants since.

Image: Crown of the Dauphin of France.svg|Heraldic Crown of the Dauphin of France Image: Dauphin of Viennois Arms

List of Dauphins

Name as DauphinHeir ofBirthBecame DauphinCeased to be DauphinDeathOther titles before or while DauphinName as King Dauphine
1 Charles V France.jpg
John II 21 January 133822 August 13508 April 1364

Became King
16 September 1380 Duke of Normandy Charles V Joanna of Bourbon
2 Young Charles VI of France.jpg
Charles V 3 December 136816 September 1380

Became King
21 October 1422 Charles VI
3Charles Charles VI 26 September 138628 December 1386
4 Charles, 6th Dauphin.jpg
6 February 139213 January 1401 Duke of Guyenne
5 Louis de Guyenne, dauphin of France.jpg
22 January 139713 January 140118 December 1415 Duke of Guyenne Margaret of Burgundy
6 Jean de Touraine, dauphin of France.jpg
31 August 139818 December 14155 April 1417 Duke of Touraine Jacqueline of Hainaut
7 Charles7.jpg
22 February 14035 April 141721 October 1422

Became King
22 July 1461 Count of Ponthieu Charles VII
8 Louis-XI-dauphin.jpg
Charles VII 3 July 142322 July 1461

Became King
30 August 1483 Louis XI Margaret of Scotland;
Charlotte of Savoy
9François Louis XI 4 December 1466
10 Charles VIII de france.jpg
30 June 147030 August 1483

Became King
7 April 1498 Charles VIII
11 Master of Moulins - The Dauphin Charles-Orlant - WGA14467.jpg
Charles VIII 11 October 149216 December 1495
12 Charles (1496).jpg
8 September 14962 October 1496
13FrançoisJuly 1497
14 Francis Dauphin Bretagne.jpg
Francis I 28 February 151810 August 1536 Duke of Brittany
15 Henri II of France - Limoges.jpg
31 March 151910 August 153631 March 1547

Became King
10 July 1559 Duke of Orléans, Duke of Brittany Henry II Catherine de' Medici
16 Francois II de france.jpg
Henry II 19 January 154431 March 154710 July 1559

Became King
5 December 1560 King-consort of Scotland Francis II Mary, Queen of Scots
17 Louis XIII.jpg
Henry IV 27 September 160114 May 1610

Became King
14 May 1643 Louis XIII
18 LouisXIV-child.jpg
Louis XIII 5 September 163814 May 1643

Became King
1 September 1715 Louis XIV
19 The Grand Dauphin by Rigaud.jpg
Louis, le Grand Dauphin
Louis XIV 1 November 166114 April 1711 Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria
20 Louis Duc de Bourgogne.jpg
Louis, le Petit Dauphin
16 August 168214 April 171118 February 1712 Duke of Burgundy Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy
21 Louis de bourbon (1707-1712).jpg
8 January 170718 February 17128 March 1712 Duke of Brittany
22 Musee Ingres-Bourdelle - Portrait de Louis XV enfant - Hyacinthe Rigaud - Joconde06070000235.jpg
15 February 17108 March 17121 September 1715

Became King
10 May 1774 Duke of Anjou Louis XV
23 Louis de France, dauphin (MV 6583).jpg
Louis-Ferdinand [2]
Louis XV 4 September 172920 December 1765 Infanta Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain;
Duchess Maria Josepha of Saxony
24 Van Loo, Louis-Michel - The Dauphin Louis Auguste, later Louis XVI.jpg
23 August 175420 December 176510 May 1774

Became King
21 January 1793 Duke of Berry Louis XVI Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria
25 Louis Joseph of France.jpg
Louis XVI 22 October 17814 June 1789
26 Louis Charles of France6.jpg
27 March 17854 June 17891 October 1791

Retitled as "Prince-royal"
8 June 1795 Duke of Normandy Louis XVII
27 Louis Antoine d'Artois.jpg
Charles X 6 August 177516 September 18242 August 1830

Became King
3 June 1844 Duke of Angoulême Louis XIX Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France

In literature

A lineographic representation of the arms of the Dauphin. Designed by Jean de Beaugrand in 1604. Lineographic Dauphin Coat of Arms.jpg
A lineographic representation of the arms of the Dauphin. Designed by Jean de Beaugrand in 1604.

In Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Huck encounters two odd characters who turn out to be professional con men. One of them claims that he should be treated with deference, since he is "really" an impoverished English duke, and the other, not to be outdone, reveals that he is "really" the Dauphin ("Looey the Seventeen, son of Looey the Sixteen and Marry Antonet").

Louis, Duke of Guyenne, the Dauphin of Viennois, is a character in Shakespeare's Henry V .

In Baronness Emma Orczy's Eldorado , the Scarlet Pimpernel rescues the Dauphin from prison and helps spirit him from France.

Alphonse Daudet wrote a short story called "The Death of the Dauphin", about a young Dauphin who wants to stop Death from approaching him.

The Dauphin is also mentioned in Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian .

"The Dauphin" is a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation . As the titular character is female, the episode title gets the gender incorrect (the French female equivalent is "Dauphine").

Robert Pattinson portrays the Dauphin of Viennois in The King (2019 film).

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dauphiné</span> Historical region and former province of France

The Dauphiné is a former province in Southeastern France, whose area roughly corresponded to that of the present departments of Isère, Drôme and Hautes-Alpes. The Dauphiné was originally the Dauphiné of Viennois.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Count of Paris</span> French noble title

Count of Paris was a title for the local magnate of the district around Paris in Carolingian times. After Hugh Capet was elected King of France in 987, the title merged into the crown and fell into disuse. However, it was later revived by the Orléanist pretenders to the French throne in an attempt to evoke the legacy of Capet and his dynasty.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Legitimists</span> French royalist faction

The Legitimists are royalists who adhere to the rights of dynastic succession to the French crown of the descendants of the eldest branch of the Bourbon dynasty, which was overthrown in the 1830 July Revolution. They reject the claim of the July Monarchy of 1830–1848 which placed Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, head of the Orléans cadet branch of the Bourbon dynasty, on the throne until he too was dethroned and driven with his family into exile.

Duke of Orléans was a French royal title usually granted by the King of France to one of his close relatives, or otherwise inherited through the male line. First created in 1344 by King Philip VI for his younger son Philip, the title was recreated by King Charles VI for his younger brother Louis, who passed the title on to his son and then to his grandson, the latter becoming King Louis XII. The title was created and recreated six times in total, until 1661, when Louis XIV bestowed it upon his younger brother Philippe, who passed it on to his male descendants, who became known as the "Orléans branch" of the Bourbons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coronet</span> Small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring

A coronet is a small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. A coronet differs from other kinds of crowns in that a coronet never has arches, and from a tiara in that a coronet completely encircles the head, while a tiara does not.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Louis, Grand Dauphin</span> Dauphin of France

Louis was Dauphin of France as the eldest son of King Louis XIV and his spouse, Maria Theresa of Spain. He became known as the Grand Dauphin after the birth of his own son, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the Petit Dauphin. As he died before his father, he never became king. His grandson became Louis XV of France, while his second son inherited the Spanish throne as Philip V through his grandmother.

Duke of Berry or Duchess of Berry was a title in the Peerage of France. The Duchy of Berry, centred on Bourges, was originally created as an appanage for junior members of the French royal family and was frequently granted to female royals. The style Duke of Berry was later granted by several Bourbon monarchs to their grandsons. The last official Duke of Berry was Charles Ferdinand of Artois, son of Charles X. The title Duke of Berry is currently used as a courtesy title by Prince Alphonse de Bourbon, son of the Legitimist Pretender to the French Throne Louis Alphonse de Bourbon.

<i>Fils de France</i>

Fils de France was the style and rank held by the sons of the kings and dauphins of France. A daughter was known as a fille de France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of Orléans</span> French noble family, a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon

The 4th House of Orléans, sometimes called the House of Bourbon-Orléans to distinguish it, is the fourth holder of a surname previously used by several branches of the Royal House of France, all descended in the legitimate male line from the dynasty's founder, Hugh Capet. The house was founded by Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, younger son of Louis XIII and younger brother of Louis XIV, the "Sun King".

Duke of Valentinois is a title of nobility, originally in the French peerage. It is currently one of the many hereditary titles claimed by the Prince of Monaco despite its extinction in French law in 1949. Though it originally indicated administrative control of the Duchy of Valentinois, based around the city of Valence, the duchy has since become part of France, making the title simply one of courtesy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">County of Valentinois</span>

The County of Valentinois was a fiefdom within Dauphiné Viennois and was a part of the Holy Roman Empire from 1032 until the sixteenth century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles, Duke of Berry (1686–1714)</span> Duke of Berry

Charles of France, Duke of Berry, was a grandson of Louis XIV of France. Although he was only a grandson of Louis XIV, Berry held the rank of fils de France, rather than petit-fils de France, as the son of the Dauphin, heir apparent to the throne. The Duke of Berry was for seven years (1700–1707) heir presumptive to the throne of Spain, until his elder brother Philip V of Spain fathered a son in 1707.

Louis, Dauphin of France, or variations on this name, may refer to:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marie Joséphine of Savoy</span> Countess of Provence

Marie Joséphine of Savoy was a princess of France and countess of Provence by marriage to the future King Louis XVIII of France. She was regarded by Bourbon Royalist Legitimists as the titular queen of France' when her husband assumed the title of king in 1795 upon the death of his nephew, the titular King Louis XVII of France, until her death. She was never practically queen, as she died before her husband actually became king in 1814.

The precise style of French sovereigns varied over the years. Currently, there is no French sovereign; three distinct traditions exist, each claiming different forms of title.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of France</span> Dynasty founded by Hugh Capet.

The term House of France refers to the branch of the Capetian dynasty which provided the Kings of France following the election of Hugh Capet. The House of France consists of a number of branches and their sub-branches. Some of its branches have acceded to the Crown, while others remained cadets.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Count of Diois</span>

Count of Diois is a title of nobility, originally in French peerage. It was created in 1350 inside Dauphine of Viennois Patrimony by Philip VI of France when Humbert II of Viennois sold his lands and titles to King Philip VI of France. All patrimony of Dauphine consisted in: Count of Albon, Grésivaudan, Briançonnais, Grenoble, Oisans, Briançon, Embrun and Gaph, Baron de La Tour du Pin, Dauphin of Viennois, count of Valentinois, and given to Cesar Borgia join to Duke of Valentinois by Louis XII of France.


  1. "dauphin | French political history" . Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  2. "Louis, Dauphin of France Biography". biography.com. A&E Television Networks. 2 April 2014. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2016.