Historically the area lay within St Margaret's parish, City & Liberty of Westminster, Middlesex.
The name Westminster originated from the informal description of the abbey church and royal peculiar of St Peter's (Westminster Abbey), literally West of the City of London, indeed until the Reformation there was a reference to the 'East Minster' at Minories (Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate) east of the City; the abbey was part of the royal palace that had been created here by Edward the Confessor. It has been the home of the permanent institutions of England's government continuously since about 1200 (High Middle Ages' Plantagenet times), from 1707 the British Government - formally titled Her Majesty's Government.
In a government context, Westminster often refers to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Palace of Westminster - also known as the Houses of Parliament. The closest tube stations are Westminster, St James's Park on the Jubilee, Circle, and District lines.
The area is the centre of Her Majesty's Government, with Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and most of the major Government ministries known as Whitehall, itself the site of the royal palace that replaced that at Westminster.
Within the area is Westminster School, a major public school which grew out of the Abbey, and the University of Westminster, attended by over 20,000 students. Bounding Westminster to the north is Green Park, a Royal Park of London.