Eight people will face a total of 19 charges in relation to phone hacking, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.
Those charged include former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and former head of news Ian Edmondson. Former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup have also been charged.
CPS legal advisor Alison Levitt QC said that 13 files were passed to the CPS by the police and she had decided that there was a "realistic prospect of conviction" in relation to eight of them.
All of them, apart from Mulcaire, will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority between October 3, 2000 and August 9, 2006.
Prosecutors will claim that more than 600 people, including Hollywood superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were victims.
Ms Levitt said Brooks will face two additional charges, relating to allegedly accessing the voicemails of Milly Dowler and former trade union boss Andrew Gilchrist.
Mrs Brooks denies the charges, saying: "I am distressed and angry that the CPS have reached this decision."
Andy Coulson will face four charges linked to accusations of accessing the phone messages of Milly Dowler, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and George Best's son, Calum.
Coulson said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision to prosecute him over alleged phone hacking.
Speaking outside his home in south-east London, the ex-News of the World editor said: "I will fight these allegations when they eventually get to court.
"I would like to say one thing today about the Milly Dowler allegation. Anyone who knows me, or who worked with me, would know that I wouldn't, and more importantly that I didn't, do anything to damage the Milly Dowler investigation."
Edmondson faces charges in relation to David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sienna Miller, Mark Oaten, Wayne Rooney, Calum Best, Tessa Jowell and David Mills, John Prescott, Professor John Tulloch, Lord Frederick Windsor and Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.
All eight facing charges will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on August 16, the CPS said.