First monarch of the House of Tudor who seized the crown with his defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
After forming an alliance with Richard III's rivals and with help from Britain's arch-enemy France, he soundly defeated Richard on the field of battle - the last monarch in history to come to power through war.
Although his reign marked a return to stability and peace, his later-life excesses became the stuff of legend, and his greed impoverished the country.
His son Henry VIII had his own set of excesses - mainly to do with his many wives.
Queen Elizabeth II, England's longest-reigning monarch, is a direct descendant of his, going back five generations or so.