Rebekah Brooks and former Number 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson have both condemned the decision of the CPS to charge them over phone hacking.
The former News of the World employees are among eight people who will be charged, the CPS confirmed on Tuesday.
Following news of the action, Brooks insisted she was innocent saying she was "distressed and angry" at the decision.
"The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime," she said. "I will vigorously defend these allegations."
The ex-chief executive of News International will face two charges - one relating to the alleged accessing of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone messages.
Coulson, who edited the News of the World from 2003 to 2007, will face four charges linked to accusations of accessing the phone messages of Milly Dowler, former Labour ministers David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and George Best's son Calum Best.
"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.
The News of the World's former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, news editors Greg Miskiw and Ian Edmondson, chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and reporter James Weatherup are also due to face charges over phone hacking.
All of them apart from Mulcaire will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority between 3 October, 2000 and 9 August, 2006.
In a statement released through his solicitor Henri Brandman, Thurlbeck said he was "surprised and disappointed" that he will face prosecution.
He said: "I have always operated under the strict guidance and advice of News International's lawyers and under the instructions of the newspaper's editors, which will be abundantly clear when this matter comes to court.
"I will vigorously fight to clear my reputation."
SCROLL DOWN FOR A GALLERY OF ALLEGED HACKING VICTIMS
At least 600 people are believed to be victims of phone hacking, including a raft of celebrities.
The CPS said they included: Delia Smith, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Abi Titmuss, John Leslie, Wayne Rooney, Calum Best, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sienna Miller, Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills to former Home Secretaries David Blunkett and Charles Clarke and former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott.
Three people on police bail over phone hacking allegations have not been charged. The decision relating to two others has been deferred on police advice.
Eleven journalists and one non-journalist were due to answer police bail on Tuesday. When the eight who are facing prosecution do so they will be charged.
Once police have contacted all the alleged victims, a list will be made available, she said.
Comments have been closed for legal reasons.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and reporter James Weatherup allegedly conspired to hack the phone of the A-list celebrities
Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
Former NOTW head of news Ian Edmondson and Weatherup are charged with hacking the phones of the former Beatle and his now ex-wife Heather Mills
Rooney, the 26-year-old Manchester United and England striker, allegedly had his phone hacked by Edmondson, Weatherup and former news editor Greg Miskiw
Jude Law and Sienna Miller
Miskiw is also accused of hacking the phones of actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller
Fashion designer Frost is also alleged to have had her phone hacked by Greg Miskiw
The former England manager, now unemployed after a stint at Leicester City, supposedly had his phone hacked by Miskiw
Miskiw also stands accused of hacking the phone of the TV chef and Norwich City shareholder Delia Smith
John Leslie and Abi Titmuss
Former TV presenter Leslie and model Titmuss are alleged to have had their phones hacked by Greg Miskiw
Ian Edmondson and the former editor of the News of the World, Andy Coulson, face charges over the alleged hacking of the phone of the socialite son of footballer George Best
Edmondson and Weatherup faces charges of hacking the phone of John Prescott, the former Labour minister
David Blunkett MP
The former home secretary allegedly had his phone hacked by Miskiw, Kuttner and Coulson
Charles Clarke MP
Clarke, also a former Home Secretary, allegedly had his phone hacked by Coulson and Miskiw
Dame Tessa Jowell MP
The Shadow Olympic Minister, recently made a Dame, was allegedly hacked by Thurlbeck and Edmondson, as well as her husband David Mills
Mark Oaten MP
Former Lib Dem MP Oaten, who stepped back from frontline politics after the News of the World unveiled his liaisons with male prostitutes, allegedly had his phone hacked by Edmondson and Thurlbeck
Rebekah Brooks, former NOTW and Sun editor and News International chief executive, Andy Coulson, Miskiw and Kuttner all face charge of hacking the phone of schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who went missing aged 13