His entire life was one of privilege and pampering. As a much-loved monarch he was accustomed to unending adoration while living it up in luxury.
So the thought of exchanging his posh palace for a tiny prison cell was likely too much to bear. And if he remained in Spain that was certainly his fate, experts say, far worse than permanent exile from his home country.
Spaniards have turned on their former king, Juan Carlos I, after more and more details of his dodgy dealings emerged, further tarnishing his already tainted reputation.