dauphin louis joseph

While the fate of France was being decided, the Dauphin Louis-Joseph was dying an agonizing death, in great physical and mental torment. On June 2, Forty Hours devotion began, and the bell of Notre Dame tolled, summoning the people to pray for the dying heir of the Bourbons.

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy - Elena Maria Vidal

Marie Antoinette with her two eldest children, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte and the Dauphin Louis Joseph, in the Petit Trianon’s gardens, by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller


As was most natural, the queen and himself fully shared the ardent wishes of the nation that the expected child should prove an heir to the throne; and he consequently feared that, should it not be so, the disappointment might produce an injurious effect on the mother’s health; or, should their hopes be realized, that the excessive joy might be equally dangerous. With a desire, therefore, to avoid exposing her to either shock in the first moments of weakness, he forbade any announcement of the sex of the child being made to any one but himself. The instant that the child was born, he hastened to the bedside to judge for himself whether she could bear the news. Presently she came to herself; and it seemed to her that the general silence indicated that she had become the mother of a second daughter. But she desired to be assured of the fact. “See,” said she to Louis, “how reasonable I am. I ask no questions.” And Louis, who from joy was scarcely able to contain himself, seeing her freedom from agitation, thought he might safely reveal to her the whole extent of their happiness. He called out, so as to be heard by the Princess de Guimenée, who still held the post of governess to the royal children, and who had already exhibited the child to the witnesses in the antechamber, and was now awaiting his summons at the open door, “My lord the dauphin begs to be admitted.” The Princess de Guimenée brought “my lord the dauphin” to his mother’s arms, and for a few minutes the small company in the room gazed in respectful silence while the father and mother mingled tears of joy with broken words of thanksgiving.

The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France - Charles Duke Yonge

On this day in history, March 27th, in 1785, Louis Charles de France was born at the Palace of Versailles. He was the third surviving child and second son born to Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, and was known as the Duke of Normandy.

He was a large and healthy child, like Marie Therese Charlotte had been, a great contrast to his frail elder brother, the Dauphin Louis Joseph. Marie Antoinette once described him in a letter as “A peasant child…big…fresh-faced and fat”. He was a sweet nurtured and loving child, and was given the nickname of “Chou d'Amour” by his mother.

Upon the death of his older brother in 1789, he became the Dauphin of France. He was imprisoned along with the rest of his immediate family during the French revolution, and he became titular King of France after his father’s execution.

Soon after his father’s death, the eight year old boy was forcibly taken from his mother and given into the care of a cobbler named Antoine Simon. Louis Charles was horrible abused and mistreated, forced to drink alcohol and made to give horrible accusations against his family members.

He would die in prison of tuberculosis two years later, at the age of just ten. There would be many young men who would later claim to be the lost little King, supposedly having been spirited out of his prison somehow. However, DNA testing done on his heart that was removed during his autopsy would prove the heart was indeed that of Louis Charles. The heart was reburied in the Basilica of St. Denis, the traditional burial place of French Kings since the 10th century.