Edward Darcy Esquire was a Groom of the Queen’s Privy Chamber and had received from the Queen a license to import and sell all playing cards to be marketed in the United Kingdom. This arrangement was apparently secured in part by the Queen's concern that card-playing was becoming a problem among her subjects, and that having one person control the trade would regulate the activity. When the defendant, Thomas Allein, Haberdasher of London, sought to make and sell his own playing cards, Darcy sued in 1603 to prevent this competition.
The court determined that the Queen's grant of a monopoly was invalid, for several reasons: The case is widely known as The Case of Monopolies and was an early landmark case in English law, establishing that the grant of exclusive rights to produce any article was improper (monopoly).
Edward Darcy seems to have been sponsor of the arts.
Thomas Weelkes (bap. 1576?, d. 1623), was a celebrated composer and organist. In the preface to his Ballets and Madrigals to Five Voices (1598) Weelkes noted that he had earlier been in the service of ‘his Maister Edward Darcye Esquire, Groome of hir Majesties privie Chamber’.