Spain's former king Juan Carlos has reportedly left the country and gone to the Dominican Republic under a cloud of scandal.
Pressure had been building on the once-popular, now divisive, former king as Spanish and Swiss prosecutors investigated allegations about his financial arrangements and ties with Saudi Arabia.
The palace released a letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe, saying he would “move away from Spain” in the wake of the “public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are causing”.
He decided to leave the country to allow his son Felipe to rule untroubled, a palace statement said on Monday, without saying where he had gone.
“This is a very emotional decision, but one I take with great serenity. I have been king of Spain for almost 40 years and throughout them all I have always wanted what is best for Spain and the crown,” the letter said.
His lawyer said on Monday Juan Carlos would "remain at the disposal of the prosecutors' office".
A Spanish government source told The Guardian that they “respected” the former king’s move, saying it speaks to “the transparency that has always guided King Felipe since he became head of state”.
It comes after King Felipe decided to renounce his inheritance from his father and strip him of his palace allowance back in March. the ex-monarch of his palace allowance after reports surfaced that Juan Carlos has reportedly received $100 million from Saudi Arabia’s late king.
“H.M. King Don Juan Carlos ceases to receive the allocation set for him in the budget of the House of H.M. the King,” a statement read at the time.
La Vanguardia said the 82 year-old went to Portugal by car on Monday morning and flew from there to the Dominican Republic, where he plans to stay for a few weeks with a family who made their wealth in sugar plantations, before looking for a new destination.
In June, the Spanish Supreme Court opened an investigation into Juan Carlos' involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia after Switzerland's La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported he had received $US100 million ($A141 million) from the late Saudi King.
Early reactions to Juan Carlos' departure have shown Spain to be divided over whether the 82-year-old, who was a prominent figure in the transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, should have stayed to face justice.
Amid wide speculations over where he could have gone, Portuguese TV channel TVI24 and the Correio da Manha tabloid had said on Monday Juan Carlos was in Cascais, a resort area near Lisbon, where he spent part of his childhood. They did not cite any sources.
With extra reporting by AAP