Queen Elizabeth is the current monarch and head of state in the Bahamas
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Queen Elizabeth is sending a heartfelt message of condolence to the people of the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian — the devastating storm that has battered the island nation for more than a day.

In a message to the Governor-General of the Bahamas on Tuesday, the monarch said: “Prince Philip and I have been shocked and saddened to learn of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, and we send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives following this terrible storm.

“At this very difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have seen their homes and property destroyed, and I also send my gratitude to the emergency services and volunteers who are supporting the rescue and recovery effort.”

She signed the message, “Elizabeth R.” The royal signs official documents “Elizabeth R.” The R stands for Regina, which means “queen.”

Queen Elizabeth II Royal Ascot
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

Queen Elizabeth is the current monarch and head of state in the Bahamas. The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973 with Elizabeth II as its Queen.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Sunday in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm and caused “extreme destruction,” with storm surges up to 18 feet above normal tide levels, reports say.

Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Dorian
| Credit: NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The eyewall of the “catastrophic” hurricane hit the Abacos Islands on Sunday, packing “devastating winds,” the National Hurricane Center reported.

Hurricane Dorian
Credit: Ramon Espinosa/AP/Shutterstock
Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Dorian
| Credit: Tim Aylen/AP/Shutterstock

At least five people have died in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit. Homes, businesses and several other buildings were destroyed or badly damaged. The storm was expected to continue battering the islands through Tuesday, even as it remained stationary early Tuesday morning as a Category 2 storm with 120 mph winds.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to head north-northwest on Tuesday.