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The Telegraph has reported that investigators are now looking into new allegations of phone hacking against the royal family, including Kate Middleton and her relatives.

“The Sunday Telegraph understands that the Duchess [of Cambridge], her family and many members of the Royal household with close connections to senior royals have been targeted and that the extent of the hacking within royal circles was much more widespread than originally thought,” writes the paper. Take note of the claim “The Sunday Telegraph understands” in the above sentence – the article is rife with qualifying constructions such as “It is believed,” and “It is understood” – along with many attributions to “royal aides” and unnamed sources.

One of those sources, “with knowledge of the investigation,” is quoted as saying, “It was much more widespread than was known at the time and it involved a lot more people and a lot more hacking at all levels.”

The source also said that News of the World reporters and private detectives “reached out and targeted as many people as they could in that world. If they’ve targeted Prince William and Prince Harry, you can assume that they targeted their friends and immediate family.”

In other royal-related news:

• Queen Elizabeth sent her sympathy to Norway’s King Harald V over the two attacks that have claimed the lives of 91 people so far. “I am deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic loss of life of so many people on the island of Utoeya and in Oslo,” the Queen wrote in a letter released over the weekend by Buckingham Palace. “Prince Philip joins me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to Your Majesty and the people of Norway. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the dreadful atrocity.” (via AFP)

• British rugby star Mike Tindall says his friends and teammates are “forever asking how on earth I fit in among the Royal Family, but they are really down to earth.” Tindall is scheduled to marry Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne and the eldest granddaughter of the Queen, in Edinburgh on Saturday. “I’ve been on the edge of her world all the time I’ve been playing rugby. I know William and Harry because they are great England supporters,” he told Reader’s Digest. ”Zara’s mum is patron of the Scottish Rugby Union so I’ve known her for years. They’re good, fun people, all of them. They’re just a normal family.” (via The Telegraph)

The Royal Yacht Britannia

• So normal, in fact, that they’ve got to stoop to renting the Royal Yacht Britannia. The famous yacht, which carried the royal family on nearly 1000 official trips and honeymoons over some 40 years, was taken out of royal service 14 years ago and turned into a tourist attraction; the Queen famously wept at the decommissioning ceremony in 1997. So the couple is hiring the ship — just like you or I would — for a pre-wedding cocktail reception for 150 guests Friday night. (via Marie Claire)

• The financially challenged Duchess of York tells Hello! magazine that she is finally debt-free. Sarah Ferguson gives much of the credit to her former husband, Prince Andrew. She said he was like a knight who “rode in on his white charger” to save her. Only last month, in a television interview, Ferguson said: “I’m not just emotionally bankrupt, I’m continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy” and she is said to have owed £2 million. Her former husband, with whom she maintains a strong friendship, is stepping down as Britain’s trade envoy, it was announced last week. (via The Daily Mail)

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By Paul Hechinger