Some carried white roses and others proudly flew Royal Standards as they marched through York to make clear their views that the king should be returned to Yorkshire.
The story of the king discovered beneath the tarmac of a council car park has captivated people across the world and yesterday campaigners fighting for Richard III to be reinterred in York took to the streets to underline their claim ahead of the start of a crunch court hearing which gets underway today.
Before setting off from Clifford’s Tower a pair of white roses were placed on the Royal Standard used in the Plantagenet period, symbolising the struggle to return him to Yorkshire.
Local people and others who had travelled from further afield joined Richard III’s 16th great-niece, Vanessa Roe, who was decked out in appropriate period dress, as they wound their way through the streets of York garnering support for their cause. Their efforts attracted a show of support from passers-by with one man shouting out “Bring him home” in support.
Among those taking part was Monica Dickinson, of Apperley Bridge, said: “To be honest, he’s one of us. I want him home.”
Gill Brown travelled to York from Ashton-under-Lyne, with her husband Robin, to take part despite currently undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer which has spread to her lymph nodes.
She said she was determined to come to the march because she felt so strongly about the issue.
“I just think the way that it has been handled is so undignified for someone who was a king of England,” Mrs Brown said.
Mr Brown said he hoped a dignified march would press the case that he should be returned to York.
Campaigners argue that Richard was very much involved in York life. He gave grants to rebuild the city’s walls and intended a college of 100 priests to pray for his and his family’s souls.
Opinion is divided on whether there is evidence the king wished to be buried in the city.
Historian John Ashdown-Hill says his personal belief, as outlined in his book The Last Days of Richard III, is that he intended to be buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, while Leicester is keen to keep the monarch and campaigners in York argue there is evidence he may have been intending York Minster as his mausoleum.
However yesterday those taking part said they believed the king’s wishes were clear.
“I am 99 per cent certain that he wanted to be buried in York or in Yorkshire,” said Marjorie Hodgkinson, from Bradford.
“Whatever you believe, he was an anointed king and I want his remains to be brought back to Yorkshire,” she added.
Pamela Penney, from York, said Richard did an “awful lot for York and for Yorkshire” and said she had come along to yesterday’s march to lend her support.
Lisa Ward, from Castleford, who is involved in the campaign said those behind the fight believe an appropriate resting place would be York Minster.
Richard III grew up at Middleham Castle and Vanessa Roe believes he wanted to be buried in his “homeland”. Ms Roe, who lives near York, said: “If he had not died in battle he would have been buried here anyway.
“We are hoping to raise awareness of Richard’s plight.
“We just want to highlight what York has to offer and how important York was to Richard.”