James Waldegrave, 1st Earl Waldegrave KG PC (1684 – 11 April 1741) was a British ambassador.
Waldegrave was the son of the 1st Baron Waldegrave and Henrietta FitzJames, the illegitimate daughter of James II and Arabella Churchill.
Waldegrave inherited his father's title in 1690 and on 20 May 1714, he married Mary Webb (who died in childbirth in 1719), a daughter of Sir John Webb, 3rd Baronet and they had three surviving children:Hon. James Waldegrave (1715–1763)
Hon. John Waldegrave (1718–1784)
Lady Henrietta Waldegrave (1717–1753), married firstly, Lord Edward Herbert, a son of the 2nd Marquess of Powis and had issue; married secondly, John Beard (a singer at Covent Garden).
After the death of his wife, he converted from Roman Catholicism (the religion he was brought up with) to Anglicanism to take his seat in the House of Lords. He was briefly a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1723 and then from 1730–41 and Ambassador to Austria from 1727–30 and to France from 1730–40. During his ambassadorship to France, he still spent enough time in London to be one of the founding Governors of the new charity there, known as the Foundling Hospital (created in 1739). In 1729, he had been created Earl Waldegrave and on his death in 1741, was succeeded by his eldest son, James.
Sir James inherited Hever Castle in Kent which had remained in the Waldegrave family for 160 years. It was deemed too small for Sir James and he sold it in the early 1700s to Sir William Humfreys, Lord Mayor of London (1714).