The British tabloid News of the World hacked Kate Middleton’s phone while she was dating Prince William, a prosecutor told a London court Thursday in a trial of the defunct newspaper’s executives, according to the British Press Association.
In one voicemail message that William left Kate — the transcript of which was read in court by the prosecutor — the prince calls his future wife “babykins” and says he was almost shot by blank rounds during a military training exercise, the PA reported.
The date of the message wasn’t immediately clear, though the couple weren’t yet married at the time, the PA reported. Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge when she married William in May 2011.
The transcript, dug up during a police investigation into the newspaper’s alleged hacking practices, was one of several messages between the couple that were read at London’s Old Bailey court, the PA reported.
The revelation came in the trial of former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who are accused of conspiring between October 2000 and August 2006 “to intercept communications in the course of their transmission, without lawful authority.” They deny the charges.
Other former employees of the tabloid, which closed down in 2011, Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup, are accused with them. All deny the charges.
Glenn Mulcaire, a former private investigator for News International — the then parent company of News of the World — was convicted of phone hacking in 2006 and has already pleaded guilty to hacking charges in the current case.
As well as being accused of conspiring to intercept communications, Brooks, Coulson, Kuttner, Miskiw, Thurlbeck and Mulcaire face an additional charge of intercepting the voicemail messages of British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who went missing and was later found murdered in 2002.
Brooks, her husband, Charlie Brooks, and her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter also face a separate set of charges of conspiring to obstruct the police investigation into phone hacking.
Among the allegations made in the trial previously: A police investigator testified that several hundred attempts were made to hack the cellphones of aides to princes Charles, William and Harry.
Hacking allegations against the News of the World prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to set up an independent inquiry, led by Lord Justice Leveson, to make recommendations on journalistic ethics and examine the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians.