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.

- AP