P.E.I. native gets royal recognition for RCMP work

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 12, 2013

RCMP Supt. Greg Peters is pictured near the Queen at Windsor Castle in 2009 during an afternoon tea that followed the presentation of Police Service Horse George.

Submitted photo

Souris West native Greg Peters has had a royal time in his lengthy career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Now he is receiving high royal recognition.

The superintendent is the only Canadian to make the Queen's New Year's Honours List for the Royal Victorian Order in 2013.

Canadian historian Christopher McCreery, author of On Her Majesty's Service, Royal Honours and Recognition in Canada, says Peters is in exclusive company.

Less than 200 Canadians have been awarded this honour since its inception in 1896. Peters is believed to be the first Islander.

"You may see one or two Canadians a year,'' said McCreery.

"For someone in the RCMP to get it,'' he added, "it doesn't happen that often.''

Peters is humbled by the distinction.

"To be honoured in this way is a new thing for me,'' he said.

"It's something I really didn't see coming...for me, it's extremely humbling.''

Peters expects to travel to England in March to receive a Royal Victorian Order silver medal from Queen Elizabeth II.

He has not seen the citation that explains why he is receiving the special award. However, both he and McCreery assume the honour is in recognition of a culmination of work and not one specific role during his professional brushes with royalty.

In 2009, Peters led the presentation of Police Service Horse George to the queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the UK.

In 2011, he led RCMP ceremonial, planning and execution for the Royal Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada.

And perhaps his crowning moment came last year when he had the honour of working with the head of the British Monarch in helping organize a historic first to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

For 24 hours, Royal Canadian Mounted Police stood guard at the ceremonial gates of Buckingham Palace in London in charge of the queen's safety, the first time a non-British unit had ever done so. Fifteen members of the RCMP, dressed in navy blue uniforms and ties, and riding black horses took over the special changing of the guard ceremony on May 23.

Peters relishes his interaction with the queen, who once invited the superintendent and his wife to stay as personal guests at Windsor Castle.

"I've been privileged to be back and forth to Buckingham Palace,'' he said.

"It's just an amazing honour to be with her and to share tea with her.''

Peters, the son of Therese and the late Joseph Peters, is director of strategic partnerships and heritage branch for the RCMP. He is also the RCMP Diamond Jubilee contigent commander.

He has enjoyed many memorable and gratifying roles during a 31-year career with Canada's national police force, but those duties that had a royal flare hold a particularly special place.

"Certainly the part that will stand out for me is the privilege to work with the Queen and the Royal Family,'' he said.