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Ranks & Styles

D

Dauphin de France
A dynastic title given to the heir apparent of the French throne which was first used by Charles V in the 14th century. The word is French for dolphin and refers to the depiction on the coat of arms. A female cannot hold the title in her own right, however the wife of the dauphin is la Dauphine. The formal styles are Monsieur le Dauphin and Madame la Dauphine.

Duc d’Orléans
The title of duc d’Orléans was reserved for use by French royalty and was given, when possible, to the oldest brother of the king. The founder of the modern branch was Philippe, the younger brother of Louis XIV, and his descendants were regarded as the most senior at court after the king’s own family.

F

Fille de France
Fille de France was the style and rank held by the daughters of the kings and dauphins of France. The children of the dauphin were accorded the same style and status as the king’s children rather than grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Fils de France
Fils de France was the style and rank held by the sons of the kings and dauphins of France. The children of the dauphin were accorded the same style and status as the king’s children rather than grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

M

Madame Royale
A style customarily used for the eldest living unmarried daughter of a reigning monarch. Unlike the English equivalent of Princess Royal, the title wasn’t held for life so when Madame Royale married, the title passed to the next daughter in line.

Mademoiselle
A style usually held by the eldest daughter of Monsieur, although it was also given to the most senior unmarried princess at court if Monsieur had no daughters.

Monsieur
An honorific title given to the eldest living brother of the king at the French royal court. The female equivalent of Madame is given to the wife of Monsieur.

P

Petite-fille de France
Petit-fille de France the style and rank accorded to the daughters of the fils de France. They used the paternal main peerage title as their surnames until their marriage and were entitled to be addressed as Her Royal Highness.

Petit-fils de France
Petit-fils de France the style and rank accorded to the sons of the fils de France. They used the paternal main peerage title as their surnames and were entitled to be addressed as His Royal Highness.

Prince du sang
Prince du sang is a term used to refer to men and women descended in the male line from a sovereign who were neither fils de France nor petit-fils de France. Since the princes du sang were the highest rank at court after the immediate royal family, they were usually styled by their ducal peerage.

The most senior prince was generally referred to as Monsieur le Prince but since the genealogical lines were so complicated, the title was generally appointed by the king himself. The wife of Monsieur le Prince would then be referred to as Madame la Princesse.

Historically, the title of Monsieur le Prince usually went to the senior prince in the House of Condé, however the rise in stature of the House of Orléans changed this and the Condé princes began to favour Monsieur le Duc.