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The Dauphin of France (French: Dauphin de France, IPA: [dofɛ̃])—strictly The Dauphin of Viennois (Dauphin de Viennois)—was the title given to the heir apparent to the throne of France from 1350 to 1791 and 1824 to 1830. The word is French for dolphin, as a reference to the depiction of the marine mammal on their coat of arms.
Guy VIII, 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, the Princes of Ivetot, until 1349, when Humbert I sold his seigneurie, 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 V. The title was roughly equivalent to the British Prince of Wales, the Portuguese Duke of Braganza, 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-lys, 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.
The sons of the King of France hold the style and rank of Son of France, while male-line grandsons hold the style and rank of 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, are 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 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 was not another Dauphin until 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.
Gallery of Arms 
Arms of Dauphin Francis, King-consort of Scots.
List of Dauphins 
|Picture||Name||Heir of||Birth||Became Dauphin||Ceased to be Dauphin||Death||Other Titles before/while Dauphin||Regnal Name||Dauphine|
|Charles, 1st Dauphin of France||John II||21 January 1338||22 August 1350||8 April 1364
|16 September 1380||Duke of Normandy||Charles V||Joanna of Bourbon|
|John, 2nd Dauphin of France||Charles V||7 June 1366||21 December 1366||–||–|
|Charles, 3rd Dauphin of France||Charles V||3 December 1368||16 September 1380
|21 October 1422||Charles VI||–|
|Charles, 4th Dauphin of France||Charles VI||26 September 1386||28 December 1386||–||–|
|Charles, 5th Dauphin of France||Charles VI||6 February 1392||13 January 1401||Duke of Guyenne||–||–|
|Louis, 6th Dauphin of France||Charles VI||22 January 1397||13 January 1401||18 December 1415||Duke of Guyenne||–||Margaret of Burgundy|
|John, 7th Dauphin of France||Charles VI||31 August 1398||18 December 1415||5 April 1417||Duke of Touraine||–||Jacqueline of Hainaut|
|Charles, 8th Dauphin of France||Charles VI||22 February 1403||5 April 1417||21 October 1422
|22 July 1461||Count of Ponthieu||Charles VII||–|
|Louis, 9th Dauphin of France||Charles VII||3 July 1423||22 July 1461
|30 August 1483||Louis XI||Margaret of Scotland;
Charlotte of Savoy
|François, 10th Dauphin of France||Louis XI||4 December 1466||–||–|
|Charles, 11th Dauphin of France||Louis XI||30 June 1470||30 August 1483
|7 April 1498||Charles VIII||–|
|Charles-Orland, 12th Dauphin of France||Charles VIII||11 October 1492||16 December 1495||–||–|
|Charles, 13th Dauphin of France||Charles VIII||8 September 1496||2 October 1496||–||–|
|François, 14th Dauphin of France||Charles VIII||July 1497||–||–|
|François, 15th Dauphin of France||Francis I||28 September 1518||10 August 1536||Duke of Brittany||–||–|
|Henry, 16th Dauphin of France||Francis I||31 March 1519||10 August 1536||31 March 1547
|10 July 1559||Duke of Orléans, Duke of Brittany||Henry II||Catherine de' Medici|
|Francis, 17th Dauphin of France||Henry II||19 January 1544||31 March 1547||10 July 1559
|5 December 1560||King-consort of Scotland||Francis II||Mary, Queen of Scots|
|Louis, 18th Dauphin of France||Henry IV||27 September 1601||14 May 1610
|14 May 1643||Louis XIII||–|
|Louis-Dieudonné, 19th Dauphin of France||Louis XIII||5 September 1638||14 May 1643
|1 September 1715||Louis XIV||–|
|Louis, le Grand Dauphin, 20th Dauphin of France||Louis XIV||1 November 1661||14 April 1711||–||Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria|
|Louis, le Petit Dauphin, 21st Dauphin of France||Louis XIV||16 August 1682||14 April 1711||18 February 1712||Duke of Burgundy||–||Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy|
|Louis, 22nd Dauphin of France||Louis XIV||8 January 1707||18 February 1712||8 March 1712||Duke of Brittany||–||–|
|Louis, 23rd Dauphin of France||Louis XIV||15 February 1710||8 March 1712||1 September 1715
|10 May 1774||Duke of Anjou||Louis XV||–|
|Louis, 24th Dauphin of France||Louis XV||4 September 1729||20 December 1765||–||Infanta Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain;
Duchess Maria Josepha of Saxony
|Louis-Auguste, 25th Dauphin of France||Louis XV||23 August 1754||20 December 1765||10 May 1774
|21 January 1793||Duke of Berry||Louis XVI||Arcduchess Maria Antonia of Austria|
|Louis-Joseph, 26th Dauphin of France||Louis XVI||22 October 1781||4 June 1789||–||–|
|Louis-Charles, 27th Dauphin of France||Louis XVI||27 March 1785||4 June 1789||1 October 1791
retitled as Prince-royal
|8 June 1795||Duke of Normandy||Louis XVII||–|
|Louis-Antoine, 28th Dauphin of France||Charles X||6 August 1775||16 September 1824||2 August 1830
|3 June 1844||Duke of Angoulême||Louis XIX||Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France|
In literature 
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 ("Looy the Seventeen, son of Looy the Sixteen and Marie Antoinette").
Alphonse Daudet wrote a short story called "The Death of the Dauphin", about a young Dauphin who wants to stop Death from approaching him.
See also 
- Dauphine of France
- List of heirs to the French throne
- Prince of Wales
- Prince of Asturias
- Prince of Beira
- Duke of Braganza
- Crown Prince
- Dauphins of Viennois
- Dauphins of Auvergne
- King of Rome
- Madame Royale
- Fils de France
- Petit-Fils de France
- Prince du Sang