Louis, Dauphin of France (1661–1711)

Infobox French Royalty|prince
name = Prince Louis
title = Dauphin of Viennois

caption = Louis de France, son of Louis XIV, nicknamed "Le Grand Dauphin" known at court as Monseigneur.
date of birth = birth date|1661|11|1
date of death = death date and age|1711|4|14|1661|11|1
father = Louis XIV
mother = Maria Theresa of Spain
spouse = Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria
issue = Louis of France, Duke of Burgundy
Philip V of Spain
Charles, Duke of Berry
royal house = House of Bourbon

Louis, Dauphin of France (1 November , 1661 - 14 April, 1711) was the eldest son and heir of Louis XIV, King of France and his Queen, Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche. He was popularly known as le Grand Dauphin. This wasn't due to any sense of greatness but, rather, to his large physical size.

Birth and ancestors

Louis' paternal grandparents were Louis XIII of France and Anne of Austria; he was descended, on his mother's side, from Philip IV of Spain and Elisabeth of Bourbon. Louis XIII and Elisabeth of Bourbon were siblings (the children of Henri IV of France and Marie de' Medici), as were Anne of Austria and Philip IV, who were the children of Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria. That means that he had only four great grandparents instead of the usual eight, and that his parents had the same coefficient of coancestry (1/8) as if they were half-siblings.


When Louis reached the age of seven, he was removed from the care of women and placed in the society of men. He received Charles de Sainte-Maure, duc de Montausier as his governor and was tutored by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, the great French preacher and orator. Despite many indications and reports of intelligence, Louis was perceived as lazy and indolent

:cquote|Louis XIV secretly nursed the same suspicious jealousy of the Grand Dauphin that Louis XIII had once shown to himself. No prince could have been less deserving of such feelings. Monseigneur, as the heir to the throne was now known, had inherited his mother's docility and low intelligence. All his life he remained petrified with admiration of his formidable father and stood in fear of him even while lavish proofs of 'affection' were showered upon him. The best way for Monseigneur to do someone an injury was to commend him to the royal favour. He knew it, and did not conceal it from his rare petitioners.
Louis XIV saw to it that his son's upbringing was quite the opposite of his own. Instead of a devoted mother and an affectionate and likeable tutor, the Dauphin had the repellent and misanthropic Duc de Montausier, who ruthlessly applied the same methods that had so disturbed Louis XIII. They annihilated his grandson.
[...] Bossuet overwhelmed his backward pupil with such splendid lessons that the Dauphin developed a lasting horror of books, learning and history. By the age fo eighteen, Monseigneur had assimilated almost none of the knowledge amassed to so little purpose, and the apathy of his mind was second only to that of his senses. [Erlanger, Philippe, "Louis XIV", translated from the French by Stephen Cox, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1970, p. 177. Library of Congress Cataglo Card Number: 79-109471]

It was said that, when an adult, Louis could pass a whole day simply tapping his cane against his foot in an armchair.Fact|date=August 2008 Nonetheless, Louis' generosity, affability and liberality gave him great popularity in Paris and with the French people in general.

Political and military role

Although he was permitted at first to attend and later to participate in the Conseil d'en haut, he did not play a particularly important part in French politics. However, as the heir to the throne and, presumably, future king, Louis was constantly surrounded by cabals battling for future prominence. Apart from the minor political role he played during his father's reign, Louis engaged in more leisurely pursuits and was esteemed for his magnificent collection of art at Versailles and his private establishment at Meudon. It was said that he hunted wolves to extinction in the Île-de-France.

During the .

Louis' position in the Conseil d'en haut gave him an opportunity to have his voice heard in the years and crises leading up to the War of the Spanish Succession. From his mother, Louis had rights and claims to the Spanish throne. His uncle Charles II of Spain had produced no descendants and, as he lay dying, had no heir to whom he could pass the throne. The choice of a successor was essentially split between the French and Austrian claimants. In order to improve the chances of a Bourbon succession, Louis gave up his rights in favour of his second son, Philippe, duc d'Anjou (later Philip V of Spain), who, as second son, was not expected to succeed to the French throne, thus keeping France and Spain separate. Moreover, in the discussions in the Conseil d'en haut regarding the French response to Charles II's last will and testament, which did indeed leave all Spanish possessions to Anjou, Louis persuasively argued for acceptance. He opposed those who advocated a rejection of the will and the adherence to the Partition Treaty signed with William III of England, even though that Treaty had awarded Naples, Sicily and Tuscany to him.

Marriage and issue

Louis married Maria Anna of Bavaria on 7 March 1680. The couple had three sons:
* Louis, duc de Bourgogne, (later Dauphin of France), father of Louis XV of France;
* Philippe, duc d'Anjou, (later King of Spain); and
* Charles, duc de Berry, d'Alençon et d'Angoulême, comte de Ponthieu.

Thus, through Bourgogne and Anjou, Louis ensured the continuation of the senior Bourbon line on the throne of France and the establishment of the cadet Spanish Bourbon dynasty respectively.

Louis, on the death of his wife Maria Anna, secretly married Sophie de Joly de Choin. However, his new wife did not acquire the status of "Dauphine", and the marriage was without issue.


At the age of fifty, Louis died in 1711 of smallpox, predeceasing his father.

Reportedly, a prophecy told at his birthFact|date=September 2008 said that he would be "son of a king, father of a king, but never a king". This is though to be fulfilled as he was the son of Louis XIV of France and father of Philip V of Spain (who however revailed in his claim only after his father's death) but did not himself become King.


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1= 1. Louis de France, Le Grand Dauphin
2= 2. Louis XIV of France
3= 3. Maria Theresa of Spain
4= 4. Louis XIII of France
5= 5. Anne of Austria
6= 6. Philip IV of Spain
7= 7. Elisabeth of Bourbon
8= 8. Henry IV of France
9= 9. Marie de' Medici
10= 10. Philip III of Spain
11= 11. Margaret of Austria
12= 12. = 10. Philip III of Spain
13= 13. = 11. Margaret of Austria
14= 14. = 8. Henry IV of France
15= 15. = 9. Marie de' Medici
16= 16. Antoine of Navarre
17= 17. Jeanne III of Navarre
18= 18. Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
19= 19. Johanna of Austria
20= 20. Phillip II of Spain
21= 21. Anne of Austria
22= 22. Charles II of Austria
23= 23. Maria Anna of Bavaria
24= 24. = 20. Philip II of Spain
25= 25. = 21. Anne of Austria
26= 26. = 22. Charles II of Austria
27= 27. = 23. Maria Anna of Bavaria
28= 28. = 16. Antoine of Navarre
29= 29. = 17. Jeanne III of Navarre
30= 30. = 18. Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
31= 31. = 19. Johanna of Austria


ee also

*French monarchs family tree
*Delphin Classics
*Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and Dauphin, Pennsylvania, both named for Louis

External links

* http://genealogy.euweb.cz

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