The Dauphin
Mary Queen of Scots



he marriage of Francis II, the Dauphin of France to the young  Mary Stuart took place on Sunday, April 24, 1558 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. It was said to be a magnificent event with a parade of musicians, richly clothed royalty, bishops, courtiers and  heralds. Mary was a childhood friend and constant companion of Francis from the time she was sent to  the French court as a six year old.  They grew up happily together in an idyllic, secure setting  surrounded by servants and others whose only purpose was the well-being of their royal charges.

Francis was not interested in studies, in fact, it is said he did not have an aptitude for learning. He was more enthusiastic about hawking and horse riding.  Mary, however, enjoyed her studies,  in particular she loved to write poetry, and loved music.  When she first came to the French court she could only speak in the Scots,  but within a few months she was able to converse in French with  some of the children.  Both Mary and Francis enjoyed taking part in sporting events, such as riding,  hawking  and archery .  And, in spite of Francis’ sickly  disposition, they spent many happy hours  enjoying the hunts and the outdoors along with the other children of the French court.

When his father Henry II died in a jousting accident, Francis II was crowned King.  His mother,  Catherine de Medici, became regent of France because Francis was only 15 years old at the time of his father’s death.    It is said that she was regent in name only and the powerful Guises, Mary’s uncles,  were the real powers that governed France.. Francis, a sickly child from birth, suffered from chronic respiratory problems all of his life.  One day, a chronic  inflammation of the middle ear brought on by constant ear infections made him very ill.  A huge swelling appeared behind his ear caused by the spreading of the inflammation/infection and his condition worsened.  He died when an abscess formed in his brain as a result of the inflammation.   Francis II, King of France died  at the age of almost 17.

GENEALOGY CHART If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader you can click here to see an Ancestral Genealogy chart for Francis II.  You will see the names of his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. BURIAL SITE Cathedral of St. Denis, outside Paris, France.


From 1350 to 1830, dauphin was the title given to the eldest son of a king of France, or the heir apparent to the French crown. The title was established by the royal house of France through the purchase of lands known as the Dauphiné in 1349 by the future Charles V. The Dauphiné was a region and former province in what is now southeastern France. It was sold to King Philip VI of France and ultimately became a grant of land to the eldest son of the French king, who assumed the title (dauphin) attached to the land. The area had a quasi-independent status until it was annexed to France in 1457.

©2024 Scotland's Mary


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