As a mixed-race actress she has made a point of openly discussing her heritage, saying that her position as a ‘light-skinned black woman’ makes her Hollywood’s ‘acceptable version of a black girl’.

Now we can reveal another intriguing part of the glossy Spider-Man star Zendaya’s ancestry: her great-grandfather was a heroic WW1 soldier from Dundee.

‘Zendaya knows about her Scottish heritage and is proud of it,’ says her mother Claire Stoermer, speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail by telephone from her home in California. ‘She hasn’t been to Scotland yet, but I know she’d love to visit some time.’

As a mixed-race actress, Zendaya has made a point of openly discussing her heritage, saying that her position as a ‘light-skinned black woman’ makes her Hollywood’s ‘acceptable version of a black girl’

As a mixed-race actress, Zendaya has made a point of openly discussing her heritage, saying that her position as a ‘light-skinned black woman’ makes her Hollywood’s ‘acceptable version of a black girl’

Now we can reveal another intriguing part of the glossy Spider-Man star Zendaya’s ancestry: her great-grandfather was a heroic WW1 soldier from Dundee

Now we can reveal another intriguing part of the glossy Spider-Man star Zendaya’s ancestry: her great-grandfather was a heroic WW1 soldier from Dundee

The recent premiere of the latest Spider-Man film, No Way Home, saw Zendaya – who plays Spider-Man’s girlfriend MJ – on the red carpet in a revealing Valentino cobweb dress, much to the delight of her boyfriend British actor Tom Holland, who plays Spider-Man.

It’s all a long way from nineteenth century Dundee, where, the actress’s maternal great grandfather Douglas Whitelaw was born in 1896. Then, most of the jobs in the city were in jute manufacture – but it was women, rather than men who were employed to keep costs down. 

It meant Dundee had very high male unemployment, and many men were, in effect, house husbands – known rather disparagingly as ‘kettle bilers’, or kettle boilers.

It’s against this backdrop that Zendaya’s relatives decided to emigrate to Canada, as so many other Scots did at the time – first her great-great grandfather, Harry Tulloch Whitelaw, and then his son, her great-grandfather, Douglas, who made the long and arduous journey by ship, in 1911.

‘He was about 15 when he left Dundee and went to Canada, arriving first in Halifax, and then taking a train to Vancouver where his father had already set up a business as a certified public accountant,’ says Claire.

Yet that wasn’t the last time Douglas would cross the Atlantic. Claire sent me a photo of Douglas’ family, and it was a black-and-white photograph. It shows Douglas in his Canadian Highlanders military uniform, wearing a Glengarry hat and a Kilt. Douglas is a proud soldier, who apparently volunteered to serve in WW1.

‘Zendaya knows about her Scottish heritage and is proud of it,’ says her mother Claire Stoermer, speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail by telephone from her home in California

‘Zendaya knows about her Scottish heritage and is proud of it,’ says her mother Claire Stoermer, speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail by telephone from her home in California

‘He fought in the First World War for about a year,’ adds Claire. ‘He was shot in the shoulder while in the trenches and came home [to Canada] with shrapnel wounds.’

There, Douglas went on to marry Thelma Ray Kelly, a Canadian, and their baby girl – Zendaya’s future maternal grandmother – Daphne Carol, was born in Vancouver. While Douglas and his family settled permanently in Canada, his daughter Daphne – Claire’s mother – went to the US to study. 

‘She met my father and that’s why the family is here,’ says Claire. 

It’s this mix – Scottish and German ancestry on her mother’s side and African American on her father’s – that have contributed to Zendaya’s elfin beauty. Her Arkansas-born father, Samuel David Coleman, feels so passionately about her Nigerian heritage that he changed the name to KazembeAjamu Coleman.

Zendaya, a businesswoman of great insight, has amassed 19.4million Twitter followers and 114million Instagram followers. 

Daya has her own line of shoes and clothes, called Daya. She also receives endorsements from numerous beauty and fashion companies. Rumours abound that boyfriend Tom Holland, 25 – originally from Kingston-upon-Thames – might be about to walk her down the aisle.

An engagement ring has seemingly been ‘spotted’ and he has spoken of his desire to become a father.

Zendaya will be traveling via Kingston to Dundee. It is her mother’s hope. ‘When I was about 16, I went with my Mom to Scotland and we loved it,’ recalls Claire. ‘We did all the touristy stuff and we found out about the family tartan, which is called Drummond.’