Dauphin of France

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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 [dofɛ̃fʁɑ̃s] ), 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 and was the hereditary title of the ruler of the Dauphiné of Viennois. While early heirs were granted these lands to rule, 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 Spanish Prince of Asturias , the Portuguese Prince of Brazil , the English (thence British) Prince of Wales , and the Scottish Duke of Rothesay . 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.

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 1422Charles 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 1483Louis 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 1498Charles 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 1643Louis XIII
18 LouisXIV-child.jpg
Louis XIII 5 September 163814 May 1643

Became King
1 September 1715Louis 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 Marie-Adélaïde 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 XVIArchduchess 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

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 .

See also

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  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.