The 70,000-tonne ocean liner bottoms out on sandbank on way to Southampton for celebrations

The QE2 ran aground in the Solent this morning on her last ever call to Southampton before heading to Dubai to take up service as a floating hotel .

The 70,000-tonne ship bottomed out on Bramble Bank near Calshot at 5.26am. Solent Coastguard was alerted and sent five tugs, which pulled the stricken ship free just before 6.10am.

The famous cruise liner entered the Solent in poor weather and might have been blown off course by the Force 7 winds. She was carrying a full complement of 1700 passengers and 1000 crew. No one was reported hurt.

After being freed, she eventually arrived in Southampton at 7.30am.

Tonight will see thousands gather on the dockside to mark the ship’s final voyage from Southampton. Prince Philip will lead the celebrations, which will include fireworks and an 11am flypast during which one million poppies will be dropped from a Tiger Moth to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.