David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will be charged as part of the investigation into alleged corrupt payments to public officials along with three others, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Tuesday.
Former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman will also be charged, alongside Coulson, with two conspiracies relating to the request and authorisation of alleged payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a royal phone directory known as the "Green Book".
It contained contact details for the royal family and members of the household.
David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will be charged
Brooks, who was editor of the Sun between January 14, 2003 and September 1, 2009, is facing charges, along with former Sun chief reporter John Kay and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan Barber.
The three are accused of a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between January 1, 2004 and January 31, 2012.
It relates to information allegedly provided by Barber to the Sun in return for payments of around £100,000.
So far, 52 people have been arrested as part of Operation Elveden, two of whom - a retired police officer and a former journalist - have been told they will face no further action.
A counter-terrorism detective had already been charged and is due to face trial in January.
Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn is accused of leaking information to the now-defunct News of the World about the police inquiry into whether to reopen the investigation into phone hacking.
Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said: "All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media.
This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings."
The five will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on a date to be fixed.
Coulson and Goodman are charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office - one between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003, and the other between January 31 and June 3 2005.
Barber, Kay and Brooks face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012.
Operation Elveden is being run alongside two others: Operation Weeting, which is looking at allegations of phone hacking, and Operation Tuleta, an inquiry into accusations of computer hacking and other privacy breaches.
Eight people including Coulson and Brooks face charges linked to an alleged conspiracy to hack phones.
The others are private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and five former News of the World journalists - ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup.
They are all due to face trial in September next year.
So far 18 people have been arrested as part of Operation Tuleta, but no-one has yet been charged.
There is a remaining suspect who is still being investigated in relation to the charges faced by Brooks, Kay and Barber.
Prosecutors said the file passed to them by police related to two journalists and two public officials.
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