Lobanov-Rostovskii, Nikita Dmitrievich, Prince was born in 1935 in Sofia. Son of Prince Dimitrii Ivanovich Lobanov-Rostovskii, whose family goes back to Vsevolod the ‘Big Nest’, a Grand Prince of Russia in the 13th century.
His mother was Princess Irina Vyrubova, a relative of Anna, the Tsarina’s lady-inwaiting. In January 1949, with his parents, tried to escape from communist Bulgaria. Crossed the border to Greece without realising that the area was controlled by communist forces who were fighting the Monarchists in the Civil War.
Caught, arrested and brought back. Put into the military prison in Sofia, where he was immediately separated from his parents. Befriended by a young thief with whom he stole food and clothes.
With the help of his uncle, Nikolay Vyrubov, who was an officer with De Gaulle, he was let out of prison and later out of the country. Left Sofia for Paris on the Orient Express. Arrived in Paris on New Year’s Eve, 1953.
In January 1954, arrived penniless to study at Christ Church, Oxford. Sponsored by a Refugees from Eastern Europe grant set up by an anonymous Russian millionaire. Moved to New York to continue his education at Columbia University.
Soon returned to New York and entered a business school. Started his banking career as a junior clerk. Became a naturalized American.
Returned to England, 1969. Works in an American bank in London. His 1,000-strong collection of the works of some 150 Russian artists who created stage designs for Diaghilev was shown in Moscow and several cities in the US. Promotes his collection on both sides of the Atlantic.