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The heir to the French crown under the Valois and Bourbon dynasties. Guy VIII, count of Vienne, was the first so styled, apparently because he wore as his emblem a dolphin. The title descended in the family until 1349, when Humbert III ceded his seigneurie, the Dauphin e, to Philippe VI (du Valois), one condition being that the heir of France assume the title of le Dauphin. The first French prince so called was Jean, who succeeded Philippe; the last was a Duc d'Angouleme, son of Charles X, who renounced the title in 1830. The Dauphin remembered in connection with Joan of Arc was Charles VII (1403 - 61), the son of the feeble - minded Charles VI. The early part of his reign was wasted in internal dissensions within the court, which the weak Dauphin was unable to put down. Thanks to the efforts of Joan, he was crowned in 1429, but it was not till some years later that a group of more vigorous councilors was able to make the new king take a firm policy. Eventually, partly due to the influence of his remarkable mistress Agnes Sorel, Charles became a fairly strong monarch. Apparently embarrassed over his lack of support for Joan during her lifetime, he arranged for her rehabilitation about twenty - five years later.

The so - called Lost Dauphin was Charles, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, called, after his father's death, Louis XVII by French loyalists. According to official accounts, he died in prison two years later. But the secrecy surrounding his death inevitably led sympathizers to believe that he had actually escaped. In later years, innumerable pretenders appeared who claimed to be the Lost Dauphin.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
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