LONDON (AP) — Intercepted phone messages from the days when Prince William and Kate Middleton were courting were read at Britain’s phone hacking trial Thursday — he calls her ‘‘babykins’’ and makes jokes about almost being shot during a military training exercise.
But the future king was in no danger — the gun was loaded with blanks, not live ammunition.
The transcripts were read at the trial of seven people, including former senior executives in Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. newspaper empire, on charges related to phone hacking and other tabloid misbehavior.
The 2006 recordings reveal the extent of media intrusion into the lives of William, second-in-line to the throne, and Middleton, who at the time was a private citizen dating a senior royal.
The recorded messages were found among the belongings of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who has been convicted of hacking the phones of aides to William and his younger brother, Prince Harry, for one of Murdoch’s tabloids.
Three messages read out Thursday were left while William was attending Sandhurst military academy. He and Kate married in 2011.
One message from William begins with the words: ‘‘Hi baby. Um, sorry, I've just got back in off my night navigation exercise.’’
He continues: ‘‘I had a busy day today again. I've been running around the woods of Aldershot chasing shadows and getting horribly lost, and I walked into some other regiment’s ambush, which was slightly embarrassing because I nearly got shot. Not by live rounds but by blank rounds, which would have been very embarrassing, though.’’
The court also heard how William called Harry and left a message in a high-pitched voice, pretending to be Chelsy Davy, Harry’s girlfriend at the time.
The message refers to Harry’s reddish hair, which makes him a ‘‘ginger’’ in English slang.
‘‘It’s Chelsy here and saying you are the best looking ginger I have ever seen,’’ William says in the hacked message.
Seven people, including former News of the World editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, are on trial on charges related to wrongdoing at the defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper.
Brooks was Murdoch’s top newspaper executive in Britain, and Coulson served as communications director to Prime Minister David Cameron before resigning because of the scandal.
Prosecutors said earlier in the trial that Middleton’s name was on Mulcaire’s list of phone hacking targets.
The trial has been adjourned until Jan. 6.