But why is the dauphin called a dauphin. Like, did they misunderstand what Wales meant and tried to copy the English?
Oh, your king’s oldest son is the Prince of Whales, well, ours is a fucking dolphin, piss off, have some tennis balls.
OK, I’m not proud of it, but I can answer this one:
Back in the thirteen hundreds, the Dauphiné was a region of France. (Southeast somewhere I think?) The region was named for its lords, who were originally titled ‘Count of Albon’ like normal people. They then took the oddball title of ‘Dauphin’, following a count who was called ‘le Dauphin’ because he had a dolphin on his heraldry.
The title went from ‘Count of Albon‘ to ‘Dolphin of Viennois’ (the Viennois being the area around Vienne, their base), and they named their little state le Dauphiné, ‘the Dolphinate’ and then in the mid-fourteenth century they went broke, and agreed to hand the whole thing over to the king of France. But only if the heirs to the throne took on and preserved the dolphin title, to which they were apparently pretty attached. The term was agreed to, and the heir to the throne of France was ‘le dauphin de Viennois’, and his wife ‘la dauphine’, until 1791.
I swear to God, I’m not kidding. Medieval French noblemen were a trip. History has not recorded the response of the first French crown prince to be informed that he was taking on this weird-ass vanity title in exchange for a big chunk of land.
I wondered this for so long!