King Salman of Saudi Arabia has decided to cut short his luxury trip to France, where the closure of a French Riviera beach for his security caused uproar.
King Salman unexpectedly flew on to Morocco after only eight days of what was planned as a three-week stay, officials said.
With the king was at least half of his 1,000-strong entourage, regional official Philippe Castanet added.
More than 100,000 people signed a petition against the closure of the public beach at Vallauris.
Critics of the move said it was a breach of French laws on equality.
A Saudi source quoted by Reuters said King Salman’s departure was part of his vacation program and not connected to the media coverage the visit had attracted.
It is not clear if the king plans to return to the villa this summer.
Philippe Castanet told AFP news agency that the beach would reopen to the public on August 3.
He said a temporary lift connecting the beach with the villa – which had also angered local residents – would be removed in the coming weeks.
Building the lift had involved pouring a large concrete slab on the sand.
The royal party generated mixed emotions among the local population.
While some were unhappy at the closure of the beach, many traders warmly welcomed King Salman and his wealthy entourage.