Former News International executive Rebekah Brooks sanctioned a payment of STG4000 ($A7,300) to a public official for a picture of Prince William dressed as a Bond girl in a bikini at a Sandhurst party, a UK jury has heard.
The Old Bailey heard that Brooks, then editor of the Sun and known as Rebekah Wade, was asked for her opinion on paying a member of the armed forces for the story.
Less than 10 minutes after she was sent an email by a Sun news editor saying the military contact who was offering the picture wanted STG4000, she responded by saying “OK”, the jury heard on Thursday.
It led to a page seven exclusive in The Sun in September 2006 with the headline “Willy in a Bikini” together with a mocked-up picture of the prince wearing a green swimsuit and Hawaiian-style flowers.
The article claimed that “Prince William caused a stir at a Sandhurst 007 bash by dressing as a Bond Girl” and said his girlfriend Kate Middleton dressed in a wetsuit.
The court heard that a payment dated June 16, 2006 and headed “Prince William wearing a bikini exclusive” for the amount of STG4000, to be collected by the wife of the member of the armed forces, was made at a Thomas Cook branch in Slough in Berkshire.
The Sun reporter who was working on the story told his superior in the email later forwarded to Brooks that the picture had come via his “best contact at Sandhurst”.
He claimed that although STG4000 “sounds like a lot”, it would “open the door for future exclusives and info”, the jury heard.
“I’m worried if we don’t meet his demands, this opportunity will pass,” he said.
Brooks denies conspiring with others to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9, 2006.
The trial was adjourned until Monday.