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Hagan Homes pulls Harry and Meghan ads after row

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One of the controversial Hagan Homes adverts

One of the controversial Hagan Homes adverts

One of the controversial Hagan Homes adverts

A company in Northern Ireland has removed adverts featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after action by representatives of the royal couple.

The ads by Co Antrim-based Hagan Homes play on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's severing of ties with the royal family and include images plastered on billboards and social media.

The building company has now apologised and said they will make a £10,000 donation to a charity of the Sussexes' choice.

Founder and chairman of Hagan Homes James Hagan has said it was not his intention to cause any offence.

"The 'Hagan Homes Fit For Part-time Royalty' campaign was intended to reflect Northern Ireland's typically light-hearted approach to a challenging situation," he said.

"Many young people struggle with the complexities of buying a new home and we were keen to emphasise that support is available in such circumstances."

The use of any image of a person for commercial purposes without permission is illegal.

Julie Burley, assistant communications secretary for Harry and Meghan, told the Belfast Telegraph: "Many thanks for your email and thank you for making us aware. We will follow our normal course of action."

The office did not elaborate on what this would be.

Billboards are in place off the Westlink and on the Donegall and Shankill Roads in Belfast.

All social media posts have been removed, with billboard ads set to come down today.

The images of Meghan, showing her looking pensive, are from an interview she gave to ITV last November.

One of the social media images describes her worried look as one seen many times among first-time buyers. An ITV spokesperson said: "I can confirm that we did not give permission for these images to be used and we will be looking into it." Hagan Homes, founded in 1988 by James Hagan, specialises in building houses for first-time buyers, and the campaign focuses on Meghan and Harry seeking a new home following the sensational events of recent weeks.

Among the taglines in the 'House of Hagan' campaign are ones referring to the split with the royal family, including the advice: "Leaving family and moving home can be daunting and stressful - not with us."

The statement from the Sussexes' representatives refers to Committee of Advertising Practice guidelines that warn: "Royal images may not be used for advertising purposes in any medium".

Belfast Telegraph