Maria Josepha of Saxony, Dauphine of France

Dauphine of France (1731-1767)

Maria Josepha of Saxony (Maria Josepha Karolina Eleonore Franziska Xaveria; 4 November 1731 – 13 March 1767) was a Dauphine of France and daughter-in-law of Louis XV. Marie Josèphe was the mother of three kings of France, including the doomed Louis XVI, who died under the guillotine during the French Revolution. Her youngest daughter, Madame Élisabeth, also was beheaded during the Revolution.

Maria Josepha of Saxony
Dauphine of France
Born(1731-11-04)4 November 1731
Dresden Castle, Dresden, Saxony
Died13 March 1767(1767-03-13) (aged 35)
Palace of Versailles, France
Burial22 March 1767[1]
Louis, Dauphin of France
(m. 1747; died 1765)
Princess Marie Zéphyrine
Louis Joseph, Duke of Burgundy
Louis XVI
Charles X
Marie Clothilde, Queen of Sardinia
Princess Élisabeth
Charlotte of England
Full name
French: Marie Josèphe Caroline Eléonore Françoise Xavière
German: Maria Josepha Karolina Eleonore Franziska Xaveria
FatherAugustus III of Poland
MotherMaria Josepha of Austria
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureMaria Josepha of Saxony's signature



Maria Josepha was born at Dresden Castle to Augustus III of Poland. She was named after her mother Maria Josepha of Austria. Her mother was a first cousin of Maria Theresa of Austria. Maria Josepha was the eighth of fifteen children and the fourth daughter. Her oldest sister Maria Amalia had married the future Charles III of Spain.



She was married to the Dauphin of France on 9 February 1747, Maria Josepha of Saxony married Louis of France. The dauphin had been married to Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain who had died in childbirth in 1746. In France the Saxon princess was known as Marie-Josèphe de Saxe. The dauphin mourned the death of his first wife but would eventually fall in love with Marie Josèphe. Like her husband, Marie Josèphe was very devout. She was the mother of some eight children, her favourite being Louis, Duke of Burgundy who died young. Politically reserved, she exerted herself only once, in 1762, in vain, for the preservation of the Society of Jesus in France. The Society had been dissolved by the King on the initiative of the duc de Choiseul and Madame de Pompadour.

The death of her husband, in December 1765, she sank into a deep depression for the rest of her life. Her health declined and she died on 13 March 1767 of tuberculosis and was buried at Sens Cathedral and her heart was taken to the Basilica of Saint Denis.

  1. Marie Zéphyrine of France (26 August 1750 - 1 September 1755) died in infancy.
  2. Louis Joseph Xavier of France, Duke of Burgundy (13 September 1751 - 22 March 1761) died in infancy.
  3. Xavier of France, Duke of Aquitaine (8 September 1753 -22 February 1754_
  4. Louis XVI of France (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) married Marie Antoinette and had issue.
  5. Louis XVIII of France (17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824) married Princess Marie Joséphine of Savoy, no issue.
  6. Charles X of France (9 October 1757 - 6 November 1836) married Princess Maria Theresa of Savoy and had issue
  7. Marie Clotilde of France (23 September 1759 – 7 March 1802) married Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia, no issue.
  8. Élisabeth of France (3 May 1764 – 10 May 1794) died unmarried.

Maria Josepha also had a stillborn son in 1748 and again in 1749. A stillborn daughter in 1752; Stillborn son in 1756. She also miscarried a son in 1762.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


Titles and styles

  • 4 November, 1731 - 9 February 1747 Her Highness Duchess Maria Josepha of Saxony
  • 9 February 1747 – 20 December 1765 Her Royal Highness The Dauphine of France
  • 20 December 1765 – 13 March 1767 Her Royal Highness The Dowager Dauphine of France


  1. Tarbé. Pierre Hardouin. (1767) Pompe funebre de l'inhumation de Madame la Dauphine faite a Sens, les 22 et 23 Mars 1767, Paris

Other websites


  Media related to Marie-Josèphe of Saxony at Wikimedia Commons